Report: Leafs’ Bernier hopes to secure long-term contract

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If goaltender Jonathan Bernier had his way, it sounds like he would sign a long-term deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer, per the Toronto Sun. That might not be what happens though.

Bernier is a restricted free agent and the Leafs have opted for salary arbitration, so he will almost certainly be back. The question is if Toronto can sign him to a longer deal before an arbitrator has to make the call for both parties.

Settling on what’s fair value for Bernier might be difficult as he’s coming off of a down season where he posted a 2.87 GAA and .912 save percentage in 58 games. Toronto completely imploded in 2014-15 and nearly every player was dragged down in the process, so those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. It might still be enough to give the Maple Leafs pause though.

Given that Bernier’s RFA status makes his negotiations less urgent, the Maple Leafs might not address this issue until they fill their GM vacancy. That’s not expected to happen before the draft.

It’s worth noting that Bernier is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, so if the Leafs do opt for a short-term deal and he bounces it, it could end up costing Toronto, especially seeing as the franchise is currently light on alternatives between the pipes.