Sounds as though there’ll soon be a winner in the Jonathan Bernier sweepstakes.
According to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie, only three teams remain in the running for the Los Angeles goalie — Toronto, Philadelphia and Minnesota — and that the Kings are prepared to take the best offer put forth by one of the three clubs.
Toronto’s interest in Bernier has been rumored for quite some time.
GM Dave Nonis has refrained from speaking specifically about replacing incumbent starter James Reimer, but has said on numerous occasions he would look to upgrade any position — including goaltending — if the opportunity presented itself.
(Remember the whole Luongo-at-the-deadline fiasco?)
The Flyers’ offer would seemingly be contingent upon buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, then pairing Bernier with Steve Mason, who was acquired from Columbus last season and quickly signed to a contract extension.
Then there’s the situation in Minnesota, which is quite intriguing.
Earlier this week, owner Craig Leipold gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of Niklas Backstrom, saying “we are not uncomfortable” with bringing the 36-year-old Finn back to be the Wild’s No. 1 netminder for 2013-14.
Backstrom’s four-year, $24 million deal expires in July and he’d have to take a serious pay cut to stick in Minnesota.
The Wild don’t have a ton of cap space, so the possibility of getting a starting goalie on the cheap (Bernier is a pending RFA, and made just $1.25 million last season) would be tantalizing.