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Bernier Banter

June 22, 2013, 7:08 PM ET [403 Comments]
Mike Augello
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Rumors continue to percolate regarding the Maple Leafs having interest in LA Kings restricted free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

CSN’s Tim Panaccio indicated on Friday that the Philadelphia Flyers were pursuing the 24 year old netminder, along with the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils, but that Toronto had stepped up and offered more than the other clubs.

Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi appears to be looking for a winger in exchange for Bernier.

The Flyers offer is said to include forward Matt Read, while according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, the Wild would offer prospects, along with possibly goalie Darcy Kuemper, who the Kings are said to have asked for.

Veteran reporter Howard Berger tweeted on Saturday that winger Matt Frattin may be part of the Toronto offer. The 25 year old had roller coaster season, scoring seven goals in his first ten games before missing almost a month due to knee surgery. Frattin returned and did not score a goal in his final 21 games, including six playoff games against the Bruins.

Bernier will undoubtedly be a number one goaltender somewhere in the NHL next season, but if traded to Toronto, he would likely have to share playing time with incumbent James Reimer.

Other teams in the bidding for the young goalie do not have such dilemmas, which makes them more likely destinations.

Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom is an unrestricted free agent and Masterton Trophy winner Josh Harding is not a viable full time option because of his multiple sclerosis, the Isles Evgeni Nabokov is also unrestricted and Rick Dipietro could be a candidate for a compliance buyout, as is Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov. Florida has young Jacob Markstrom and veteran Scott Clemmensen, along with the incessant rumors of Roberto Luongo ending up there and New Jersey needs a successor to Martin Brodeur, who will likely retire at the end of next season.

The Bernier to Toronto trade rumors could be reality or it could be the work of someone putting the story out there so the price goes up before next weekend’s NHL Draft.

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