If the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to trade struggling netminder Jonathan Bernier, they may have a potential partner in Western Canada.
“The Calgary Flames have discussed taking on his contract,” NHL insider Eric Francis told Dean Blundell and Company Thursday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “It’s not the craziest idea out there. They need a goaltender next year. Pretty much everyone in the organization is either hurt or their contract ends this year.”
Bernier allowed five goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, his first game back in the NHL following a four-game AHL stint with the Toronto Marlies where he went 3-0-1 with three shutouts.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving and president of hockey operations Brian Burke, a former president and GM of the Maple Leafs, were at Tuesday’s game, reportedly scouting Bernier and other players.
“The Calgary Flames are looking at absolutely every possibility for a goaltender, and Bernier’s a guy who they have discussed in in the front office openly because there is a potential upside,” Francis explained. “I don’t see [Bernier’s upside], and I don’t think many people in Toronto see it. Babcock doesn’t see it. In Toronto, they just want to get rid of that guy.”
Bernier is 0-8-2 in 10 games with the Leafs this season, putting up a cringe-worthy 3.45 goals-against average and .881 save percentage. The 27-year-old has a salary cap hit of $4.15 million and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Through 30 games, the Flames are allowing a league-worst 3.43 goals against per game. The team’s two under-performing goalies, Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo, are both pending UFAs with cap hits of $4.5 million and $3.8 million, respectively.