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Bernier ready to seize opportunity to win Toronto starting job

Aug 3, 2013, 3:05 PM EDT

Jonathan Bernier Getty Images

Jonathan Bernier has always been a highly-touted young goalie. The problem he’s had is being stuck behind a guy who seized an opportunity to win and keep a starting job.

Now he’s a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and while James Reimer has been the No. 1 guy there the last two seasons, Bernier will get a shot to be the man there. He tells Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star he plans on taking advantage of it.

“I’ve been waiting for that, to get my chance,” Bernier said. “It was very frustrating. That’s hockey, When you get your chance, you’ve got to take it. That’s what happened with Jonathan Quick.”

The Leafs haven’t said one way or the other about what the situation will be in goal, but given their acquisition of Bernier and previous chase of Roberto Luongo, you have to assume there’ll be competition to be the starter.

If you thought goaltending was already a strength for the Leafs, they might be swimming in riches now.

  1. withseidelinn - Aug 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    It’s a good problem to have but sooner or later one of these guys (most likely Reimer) is going to get tired of riding the pine for most of the season and will want out. I’d hate to see him walk next season for nothing.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 3, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Well he’s an RFA so he can’t really walk. Although, with Kessel, Bolland, Kulemin, Phaneuf, Reimer, etc all needing new deals next summer (Franson+Kadri now), it’s very possible the Leafs could let Reimer leave via an offer sheet. Ppl were saying this summer that someone could offer Bernier in the $3mil range and only cost themselves a 2nd… well someone could do the same with Reimer next summer. And I don’t think Toronto would match considering the big deals they must hand out.

      • withseidelinn - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        I meant having Reimer walk since he’s a UFA

      • withseidelinn - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:16 PM


      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 3, 2013 at 11:48 PM

        I’ve said it for some time and phillyphanatic you seem to agree, that Nonis and co. have painted themselves into a cap bind. It seems strange for a fringe team to overpay for marginal 2nd and 3rd line players such as bozak and clarkson.

        As I’ve indicated before, this team will not be making the playoffs given the competition in its own division, let alone in the metrosexual division. I can the 5th place team in the metro challenging the 4th place team in the Atlantic for the final spot in the playoffs. Though personally I think the top four will end up being the Habs, Bruins, Sens, and Wings not necessarily in that order.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        I agree about Nonis, but it seems like Leafs fans are totally oblivious or don’t want to see that their team will not be able to keep everyone. I mean think about the list of players who will need new deals (with estimated AAV): Franson (3.8-4.2), Kadri (2.8-3.3), Kessel (7-8), Phaneuf (6+), Bolland (3.5-4), Gardiner (2-4, depending on this season), Reimer (2.8-3.2), Kulemin (2.5-3.5), plus Fraser, McClement, Ranger, etc. That is a ton of new deals for established or up-and-coming players. And even if those values are wrong it’s still going to be way more than the space they have. They have under $5mil right now and even with the cap going up (by 5-6mil) and letting a few guys walk they won’t be able to afford everyone. The Clarkson and Bozak deals will look asinine if Kessel and Phaneuf are walking next summer.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 3, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Well sooner or later one of the two will have to take full control of the job and prove themselves to be a true number 1 goalie. Bernier has played well but his sample size is small and he has yet to be a number 1 goalie. Reimer has also been good, and has a bigger sample size but so far he’s yet to take the step above being a middle of the road goalie.

      There’s the old saying teams that say they have 2 goalies don’t actually have any goalies. I wouldn’t say Toronto has no goalies but right now neither guy has allowed the team to say that they have their one goalie that they’ll ride no matter what.

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:47 PM


  2. pastabelly - Aug 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    It’s much different being a very good backup and being a very good starter.

  3. jcmeyer10 - Aug 3, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    As a Bruins fan, I feel bad for Remier. He played a hell of a series and didn’t deserve to be saddled with the blame. The whole team let up those last ten minutes.

    • dueman - Aug 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Nobody has blamed Reimer! Also, I’m guessing that Yerdon just doesn’t put a lot of stock in what the Leafs general manager says, because Nonis has stated that the starting job is Reimer’s to lose, and Bernier’s to try to steal. It’s still pretty early to start with the whole goalie controversy thing. I’m thinking that maybe we should wait until they play at least one game each? Maybe two?

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 3, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        The whole point is, Bernier is touted as a starter stuck behind a perennial Venzina candidate. I don’t know what else this could say.

        This is a toss up and both those guys know it. So let’s not pretend like this is really “Remier’s job to lose” because it’s starting at zero for both goalies right now.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        Nonis may have said that, But it does say something else when you trade for a “backup” and give him a contract making $1.1 million more than the starter. Neither one is making huge money (by hockey standards) but salary wise Bernier is the starter and Reimer the backup.

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        Thank you atwater. Actions speak louder than words. Let us look no further than Chiarelli saying they had no plans in trading Seguin.

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Also, they made it a controversy as soon as they didn’t bring up their best AHL goalie who needed a couple years to handle more than 20 games.

      • dueman - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        @atwatercrushesokoye – You are right, it does say something. It says that Bernier’s contract was due to be extended before Reimer’s was, and that’s all it says. lol Reimer’s is due after this year!

        @jcmeyer10 – Chiarelli saying anything has absolutely nothing to do with anything that Nonis says, ad did you read your last comment? It makes zero sense for one, and for two, Toronto’s best AHL goalie is far from being ready to be an NHL back up period, not that it has anything to do with this situation anyways!

        Nonis improved the Leafs by adding Bernier because he is better than Scrivens is. If Bernier ends up earning the starting job, then that is also good. No matter how you slice this situation, it is good for the Leafs! Both goalies are good. Hopefully they both help each other, but if one ends up having to be traded then I’m sure the Leafs will trade one. Either way the Leafs will end up with a good goalie. It was a good move!

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 3, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        it is difficult to reason with many fans of the toronto team. rational thought processes seem to elude many of them. hence, some leafs fans truly believe Reimer is the no. 1 and Bernier is there to “steal” the job.

  4. sampulls - Aug 3, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Toronto vicious cycle:
    -over hype their players
    -then they have to over pay them
    -then they have to get rid of them

    • sunderlanding - Aug 3, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      All teams do that. People just notice Toronto more.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 3, 2013 at 11:54 PM

        no, all teams don’t do that. toronto has to overpay players like bozak, clarkson, bolland in order to get them to sign here. why else is nonis pushing a marginal team like this one up against the cap? it makes no sense. people aren’t stupid they’ve seen the three ring circus in toronto for the last 64 years.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Clarkson was offered more to go to Edmonton, and probably the same to go to a couple of other places. People always overpay during free agency, or did you just start watching sports this week?

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        Yeah it’s just Toronto that overpays. No one else ever overpays… ever… just Toronto. Leaf haters sure have their delusions.

      • freewillig - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        About 7 teams do that. P

      • sunderlanding - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        No. All teams. Can’t you read?

  5. brandon998 - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    People are forgetting this, who has better defense, LA or Toronto?
    Take a look at Reimer and Bernier’s last regular season wins.
    Reimer’s last win was against Florida where he stopped 34 of 34 shots.
    Bernier’s last win was against Minnesota where he stopped 23 of 23 shots. Ok so they both got a shutout, let’s look at their second last win.
    Reimer stopped 49 of 50 shots against Ottawa.
    Bernier stopped 13 of 15 shots against Dallas.
    Now Ottawa is obviously a much better team than Dallas. Despite that, Bernier still gave up more goals than Reimer, even though Reimer faced 3x more shots. Given Toronto’s defense, I don’t think Bernier could last very long. My money is on Reimer for #1 next season.

  6. LampyB - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I’m sticking to Bernier clearly taking over the starting role with mad skillz. Toronto is extremely fortunate to have landed him, he’ll be the future franchise goalie.

  7. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    I love how everything Toronto does is SOOO dramatic for the Leaf haters.

    Somehow having two good goalies will cripple the team. Last year it was Reimer and Scrivens, when Reimer was injured the team struggled. Getting Bernier is a huge improvement if that happens again. The fact that he’s got a really good shot at stealing the #1 job is just gravy.

    Lost Frattin and Scrivens to get him. It will be Clarkson filling in on the RW for Frattin. That’s a huge upgrade, but we need to be drama queens about it. So lets pretend like Clarkson’s contract was a HUGE overpayment.

    Lost Grabovksi, who’s been dead-weight since his ‘big’ 58 point season. Last year he wasn’t even on pace to crack 30 points (if the season was 82 games). But it’s the Leafs, so we need to pretend like Grabovksi’s been producing 60 points every year. We need to pretend Dave Bolland is a step backwards for 3rd line centers. Somehow Grabovski was the savior of the Leafs.

    The only hole really, is Clarke MacArthur’s 3rd line LW spot… which leaves the door open for a prospect to get a chance, which isn’t a bad thing. Colborne, Biggs, D’Amigo, there’s a few options. But again… It’s the Leafs. We need to pretend like there are no prospects and Clark MacArthur was the heart and soul of Toronto.

    One of the funniest things about being a Leafs fan is watching the haters spin everything… and I mean EVERYTHING… into the worst move Toronto’s ever made. Even a story about a backup goalie wanting to steal the starting job… drives… them…. nuts!!! How dare he!

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