Report: UFA Goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Sign with the Detroit Red Wings

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Jonathan Bernier
DENVER, CO - APRIL 16: during a first round playoff game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting Nashville Predators on April 16, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire)

According to Darren Dreger and Craig Custance, the Detroit Red Wings will sign unrestricted free agent Jonathan Bernier to a three-year contract worth about $9 million, or $3 million per season AAV. This contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season.

In 2017-18, Bernier appeared in 37 games (19-13-3) and posted a .913 save percentage and 2.85 GAA. He aided the Avalanche to a massive ten-game winning streak in January, during which Bernier personally won nine consecutive starts. Various injuries to starter Semyon Varlamov resulted in many more appearances than likely expected for the 30-year-old Bernier, but his ability to step in and win kept the Avalanche season alive. He also served as the team’s starter in their first round match-up against the Nashville Predators.

Newest Red Wings Goaltender, Jonathan Bernier

Drafted 11th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, Jonathan Bernier has had quite an up-and-down career to date. From 2010 to 2013, Bernier served well as backup to Jonathan Quick. He won a Stanley Cup in this role with the club in 2012. His excellent service in that backup role resulted in a trade and back-to-back two-year deals with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He served as the team’s starter for a couple years, simultaneously splitting time with James Reimer.

After a strong first year in Toronto, Bernier’s play began to slide. This ended with a trade sending him to the Anaheim Ducks to play out the final year of his contract. A rejuvenated Bernier served well as backup to John Gibson, which proved to be enough to entice a new deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

Jonathan Bernier’s Future

Thanks to his performance in relief of Varlamov this past year, Bernier has once again proven his usefulness, especially as a backup. He is good enough to push a regular starter and potentially play nearly half a season. This is the ideal cheap backup option in the league nowadays, as you see starters playing between 50 and 60 games. Bernier thrives with a smaller workload and still can provide that veteran presence without destroying a team’s cap situation.

Jonathan Bernier will be looking to once again reclaim notoriety in the league. It will require him to be excellent when opportunities arrive, but he has proven over the last two years his ability to do so. A stronger performance against Nashville in round one this last postseason may have earned him more money and term, but clearly, this opportunity is one worth taking for Bernier.

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