Jonathan Bernier

Trade Bait: Jonathan Bernier


The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

Rumors were flying on Tuesday when Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier didn’t attend the ceremony at the White House honoring his Stanley Cup-winning team.

It turned out that Bernier had gone home to Canada following the death of his grandmother, but the episode underscored how many people are watching to see how his situation plays out in Los Angeles.

It’s no secret the 24-year-old wants to be traded at some point — not that you can blame him, given starter and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick is signed through 2022-23.

In 2011-12, Bernier’s NHL numbers as Quick’s backup were passable — a 5-6-2 record with a .909 save percentage — but not great.

In 2013, he’s 7-2-0 with a .923 save percentage. Much, much better.

The Kings may choose to keep Bernier past the deadline as insurance for an injury to Quick.

And given Quick’s mediocre play this season, Bernier could even find himself on the ice in the playoffs.

On the other hand, Bernier may be best utilized as a trade chip to give the Kings a better shot at defending their title.

Just to throw it out there — what about sending him to Calgary for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester? After all, it’s still not clear if Willie Mitchell (knee) will be able to play again this season, and the Flames really need to start thinking about life after Miikka Kirprusoff.

Related: Bouwmeester, Flames have reportedly discussed trade

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.