The NHL may have a hard time getting the puck in the Kings' net for many seasons to come.
Los Angeles signed their Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick to a 10-year contract extension, set to begin after the 2013-14 season. The All-Star goalie put the Kings on the map and was the main reason the eighth seeded team made it to the postseason in the first place after their rollercoster season.
But after Quick's extension was all said and done, Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier asked to be traded so that he can go after a starting position--a position he deserves.
Bernier's name isn't one that's well known throughout the league. But the 23-year old goaltender can put on one heck of a show when he's on the ice. Since being drafted by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) in 2006, Bernier's recorded a .910 save percentage and left Kings fans feeling confident when he was on the ice.
But when you're competing against Quick, it's not easy to find a whole lot of ice time.
When looking to Chicago, Corey Crawford's career save percentage is identical to Bernier's. But it's important to remember Bernier hasn't seen nearly the same amount of playing time as Chicago's starter. With a little more experience and work, there's no reason the young goaltender wouldn't continue to improve his numbers.
When it comes down to it, Crawford and Bernier could learn a great deal from one another, as well as grow together with the team. Bernier's experienced Quick's growth in Los Angeles first-hand and is able to note what it takes to your game to an entirely new level. Crawford has gone from the backup position to the starting role, and despite his struggles last season, can provide insight and tips on what to expect when making a jump like that in your career.
I'm not saying Bernier should come in and take over Crawford's spot, but I think both could be effective when given fair playing time. Even if Bernier is once again dealt the title of being a backup, he could see much more playing time in Chicago than he could in Los Angeles. Plus Bernier would be rather inexpensive--he has one year and 1.25 million left on contract--yet he has the numbers to prove he could be a top-notch goalie when given the chance.