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Leafs Trade Jonathan Bernier to Anaheim

Just over two weeks after acquiring Anaheim net minder Frederik Andersen from the Ducks, the Leafs sent a goalie of their own back the other way in Jonathan Bernier.

Toronto acquired a conditional pick in 2017’s NHL Draft for shipping Bernier to Orange County.

Leafs Trade Jonathan Bernier to Anaheim

To say the 27-year old Laval, Quebec native’s 2015-16 season was Jekyll and Hyde is an understatement. He lost 11 consecutive games to start the year giving up three or more goals seven times in that stretch posting an .865 save percentage, only to go on to win six of his next eight starts bumping that save percentage to .904 posting two shutouts along the way. Just when Bernier got things going, he lost nine of his next 10 giving up three or more eight times.

Then, the former Manchester Monarch messed around and won five of his last eight decisions to the tune of a .940 save percentage giving up two goals or less six times. The life of a back-up goaltender playing on the worst team in the League. The Leafs did allow the 10th most shots in the League (30.5), a full three shots down per game from the previous year and a full five (FIVE) shot subtraction from 2013-14 (Mike Babcock effect).

Fun fact, when the Leafs were allowing 35 shots per game, Bernier had his best season as a starter (46 starts, 26 wins, .923 save percentage, .933 at even strength in ’13-14). This was similar to how James Reimer carried the team in 2013 to the playoffs, the only time the Leafs have made it in 11 seasons since the lockout, and it was a lockout-shortened asterisk season. Bernier was on his way to leading them there that year along a full 82-game journey until the roof caved in and the team lost 13 of its last 16. The former Lewiston MAINEiac (that’s what they were called in the QMJHL) has been no stranger to playing second fiddle, as he did so behind Jonathan Quick for the better part of five seasons in LA. He only played 62 games but maintained a solid .912 save percentage and 2.36 GAA, which is why the Leafs saw promise in the former 11th overall pick as a possible starter when they initially traded for him in 2013.

Now, Bernier will be going back to California, only suiting up for the team on the other side of the freeway in Anaheim. It’s John Gibson‘s crease there, so again he will be playing the role of back-up, but he’ll be doing so on an actual contender. In this situation, especially if Gibson struggles or gets injured, Bernier could be poised to shine coming to a team that in comparison held opponents to the fourth lowest shots per game in the League last season and have made the playoffs nine of 11 times after the work stoppage. He still is only 27 and in a contract year, so even as a back-up, Bernier may have his best hockey ahead.

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