NY Islanders News

Toronto Is Berning-Leafs Acquire Jonathan Bernier

By Eric Bordin
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Mar 31, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) warms up before the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Kings defeated the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Ristano…

Once the rumors started to swirl this week I figured it would just be a matter of time before Jonathan Bernier was dealt.

Well guys/gals it didn’t take long at all, and with this morning’s news the Jonathan Bernier sweepstakes is now officially over.

The Maple Leafs announced earlier this morning that they have acquired Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Matt Frattin, goalie Ben Scrivens, and a second-round draft pick in either 2014 0r 2015.

Bernier, a former first round pick(11) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, never really had a chance to show exactly why he was taken so high, due to the outstanding play of Conn Smythe Trophy winning Jonathan Quick.

Toronto was one of the several teams that had been mentioned as landing spots for Bernier and ultimately sealed the deal early Sunday.

As you all know, the Isles were never mentioned in the conversation this week for Bernier, and I thought that was quite puzzling.

Now, I would never question anything that GM Garth Snow has done thus far, because as of now he has hit all the right buttons, but this one had me thinking a little bit.

After looking back at the Pittsburgh series, one would have to think a better goaltending performance could have won that series.  When your goalie finishes a losing series with a .842 Save Percentage and a 4.44 Goals Against Average, it’s quite obvious those numbers aren’t even close to acceptable.

Now to Nabokov’s credit, he did have a nice season compiling 23 wins, with a .910 Save Percentage and a 2.50 Goals Against Average, but not outstanding by any means. At 38 years old when the season starts, you have to wonder what these numbers could look like after an 82 game season at his age.

On the flip side, you then have the two young net-minders that will be slugging it out behind Nabokov, considering it now seems less likely GM Snow will seek a trade for another goalie.

On one hand you have Kevin Poulin, who saw some game action this season in the regular season, as well as the playoffs.  During the regular season Poulin appeared in 5 games finishing with a .893 Save Percentage and a 3.02 Goals Against Average. Not much of a body of work to grade, but if we had to, it’s pedestrian at best.

In the playoffs, Poulin came in to mop up during two games and finished with a .933 Save Percentage and a 1.15 Goals Against Average. He gave up one goal on 15 shots, so not much really to grade on, however he fared well in his two appearances against a tough, hard charging Pens team.

On the other hand, the Isles have Anders Nilsson, who has appeared in some regular season games for the Isles during the 2011-12 season, the highlight being his shutout against the New Jersey Devils.

Last year at Bridgeport in 21 games, he had a .899 Save Percentage and a 2.93 Goals Against Average. During the 2011-12 season at Bridgeport before being called up to the big club, he recorded a .921 Save Percentage and a 2.42 Goals Against Average in 25 games.

If you take both Poulin and Nilsson, they are pretty much the same as far as the numbers are concerned.

It basically comes down to who the Islanders brass feel has the best potential and upside out of those two, to take the job and run with it.

If you’re looking for a big technically skilled goaltender who is agile, consistent and rarely has a bad game then Nilsson is your guy. Great hockey smarts, calm, and mentally put together.

If you are looking for an athletic and extremely reactionary goaltender, that’s quick between the pipes, but just starting to gain some consistency, then Poulin is your guy.  Solid goalie with acrobatic save potential and fundamentally sound.

Even after writing those last few paragraphs, I am still not sold on the Islanders options in net for the 2013-14 season and none of them made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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