The OC Register features a great story about Jonathan Bernier relishing the lower-pressure atmosphere in Anaheim after those years in the Toronto pressure cooker.
Bernier’s right when he says “It’s a completely different mindset and lifestyle as well.” He’d know after starting his career with Los Angeles.
Here’s the thing, though: it’s true that Bernier won’t be under the same media scrutiny, but he’s actually facing a lot of personal pressure. At least he should be aware of as much.
At 28 and with a finite number of goalie jobs out there, Bernier enters the final season of his current contract.
On one side, some will give Bernier extra rope as a first-rounder (he was the 11th pick in 2006). On the other side, he’s had plenty of chances already, so another rough season could really limit his options.
There have been flashes of brilliance, especially during a stretch in the middle of his career:
2012-13: .922 save percentage in finishing off his days with the Kings.
2013-14: .923 save percentage in his first season with the Maple Leafs, and in 55 games to boot.
His big picture view is hit-or-miss, but there’s some reason to believe that he can get his career back on track. For all of Randy Carlyle’s faults, he might have a point in discussing Bernier with the OC Register.
“We think that he’s a higher-level goaltender than what he’s played in his previous experience in Toronto,” Carlyle said.
The OC Register notes that Carlyle referred to the tandem as a 1A and 1B situation, although it’s difficult to give Bernier even footing considering John Gibson‘s longer deal.
Still, it’s also worth remembering that Gibson is relatively unproven. Bernier’s experience of 213 NHL regular season games trumps Gibson’s meager 66-game sample.
If Gibson falters, the Ducks have a hungry goalie waiting to redeem himself. It could very well be a situation where everyone wins … at least for one season.