Jonathan Bernier doesn’t want to be a backup goaltender forever, and given that the Los Angeles Kings have already committed to Jonathan Quick through the 2022-23 campaign, Bernier reportedly wants to be traded. Which begs the question: Could this turn of events hurt the Vancouver Canucks’ efforts to trade Roberto Luongo?
It might, but it’s not likely.
The number of teams that seem to have an appetite for Luongo’s services are pretty thin as it is, but it looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, and Chicago Blackhawks are among the most probable destinations.
If we just look at that list, we can pretty much immediately dismiss the possibility that the Panthers would be interested in Bernier. They already have Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen under contract, not to mention a pretty good and nearly ready prospect in Jacob Markstrom.
Florida could potentially justify getting Luongo because of how big an upgrade he’d be, but why would they go after an up-and-coming, but still unestablished netminder at this point?
The Toronto Maple Leafs are even less likely to pursue Bernier given that GM Brian Burke has already stated that he doesn’t want another promising, but unproven goaltender.
Chicago’s situation is a little like Toronto’s in terms of goaltending, though the main difference is that they’re in a position to win the Stanley Cup this season – especially if they add Luongo. In their situation, adding an all-star goaltender would seem to make more sense than throwing another up-and-comer into the mix, but maybe they’ll express an interest in Bernier anyways.
It’s hard to say where Bernier will go at this point, because there isn’t a team that has an obvious interest in a promising backup that wants to compete for a starting job. At one time the Columbus Blue Jackets or Tampa Bay Lightning might have been interesting destinations for him, but both teams already acquired young goaltenders this summer and probably don’t have a lot of appetite to add another one into the mix.
Ultimately, even if Bernier wants to be put into a situation that’s better for his career, there might simply be no opportunities for him available at this stage of the summer.