Sunday, June 23, 2013

A King's Ransom?

Earlier this afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Los Angeles Kings agreed on a trade sending Jonathan Bernier to the Leafs in exchange for Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens, and a second round pick in either 2014 or '15. Let's break it down.

In Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs get a goaltender with tremendous upside and a very strong hockey pedigree. He's won a QMJHL Championship with the Lewiston MAINEiacs, World Junior Gold Medal for Canada, and Stanley Cup (as a back-up) last year with the Kings. In the juniors, he won the playoff MVP during the MAINEiacs' championship run. In 2009-10, Bernier won the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award for outstanding AHL goalie. Oh yeah, he was also the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

While all of that sounds nice on paper, he's also put up some respectable numbers so far during his short time in the NHL. Bernier has only had a goals-against average of more than 2.40 once in his career: his first four games in his rookie season in the NHL, winning one of them.

The main question is how he will respond to potentially being the starting goalie for a full season. In two full seasons in the AHL, Bernier posted GAAs of 2.40 and 2.03 and 53 total wins. How will that translate to the NHL? It will take some time to tell, but he's had success at every level he's played.

For the Leafs, it will give a lot of flexibility in net. They must hope that James Reimer and Bernier will push each other for the starting spot. If Reimer responds well, then the team has two quality, young goalies. If he doesn't, he becomes a trade asset for the team. Either way, it's a win-win situation.

As for the Kings, Bernier wasn't going to get any playing time behind former Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick. With Bernier's impending restricted free agent status, it made sense to get a quality and inexpensive back-up goalie. According to, the Kings will be $2 million under the cap next season, without having restricted free agent Kyle Clifford and unrestricted free agent Rob Scuderi signed.

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Ben Scrivens will be a nice fit for the Kings to back up Quick. He's making just over $600,000 next season, has NHL experience, and led the Toronto Marlies to the Calder Cup in the 2011-12 AHL campaign. Scrivens has shown some promise for the Leafs, but he couldn't challenge James Reimer for the starting job. However, he'll be a great fit for the Kings in their defensive system.

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Matt Frattin has been a very inconsistent pro. He was very hot for the Leafs at the beginning of the year, but fizzled out by the end. Frattin is still probably recovering from a knee injury suffered in the final game of the AHL Conference Finals, but what is his ceiling? Personally, I see him ending up as a third liner, nothing more.

So, who do I think won the trade? Well, if you couldn't tell by now, it was the Leafs. They added a potential franchise goalie for a back-up and third line forward. It makes sense for LA based on cap situation, but I feel like they could've held out for more. There were multiple teams interested in the services of the former first round selection.

What are your thoughts us in the trade? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter.

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