Anaheim has traded for Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier
Don’t get too excited, fantasy hockey fans. This one is of a relatively minor nature, as Jonathan Bernier was traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional draft pick. This is how the money breaks down for the two teams:
Bernier already received $2 million bonus from Leafs so Ducks are paying him $2.15 million in actual cash. Ducks have full $4.15M cap hit.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) July 8, 2016
The way to look at this deal is that this essentially completes a trade from two and a half weeks ago when the Leafs acquired goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Ducks for a first round pick in the most recent draft, and a second round pick in 2017. It appears the holdup was indeed the bonus paid to Bernier on July 1st, which was paid by the Leafs. No word on what the condition of the pick acquired in this trade entails.
Who does this trade help: Frederik Andersen
With Bernier looming on the bench, it was probably fair to assume there would have been some measure of time-share this year in the Leafs net. Not exactly an even split, but Bernier probably would have made more starts than a typical backup. With Bernier out of the picture, it’s clear that this is Andersen’s net and, assuming health, he can probably get to 60 starts this year. If the Leafs are better than last year – and they should be – the extra seven or eight starts gained by this trade might not seem huge, but an extra three or four wins might be make or break in some fantasy leagues. So this is a good day for current, and prospective, Andersen owners in fantasy.
Who does this trade hurt: John Gibson
Andersen being shipped out of Anaheim made it appear as though Gibson would indeed be the true number-1 starter for the Ducks next year, and for years to come. The second part of that sentence is still likely, but the first part less so now.
I don’t trust Randy Carlyle. This is a guy who wouldn’t play Clarke MacArthur in the playoffs, refused to waiver from Tyler Bozak as a first line centre, and seemingly didn’t trust James Reimer. Remember, he gave Ben Scrivens 17 starts in the lockout-shortened season (an 82-game equivalent of 29 starts), and gave Bernier the majority of the starts over Reimer in 2013-2014. Maybe he’s learned a few things since his tenure with Toronto, but until there is tangible proof of a new philosophy, we can only go off of history. That history indicates that he won’t care about a true number-1, or a goalie of the future. He will go with who he thinks will give the team the best chance to win, which doesn’t necessarily align with who actually gives them the best chance to win.
It seems like Gibson’s workload will be a little bit lighter now. I don’t see it falling off a cliff into a true time-share like we saw in St. Louis these past couple of seasons, but banking on more than 55 starts for Gibson now is misguided. If Bernier has a solid game in net spelling off Gibson, Carlyle will probably give Bernier starts until he falters again. Riding the hot hand, I am guessing, will be a thing.
This isn’t all to say that Bernier is a bad goalie; rather, I think he’s about league average. Being league average has value in the NHL, and he can’t possibly be worse than last year. It just isn’t a good thing for Gibson’s workload this year that he now has a capable backup goalie behind him. Particularly one that has been a starter, and has worked with Carlyle before.