Goalie Jonathan Bernier traded to Toronto Maple Leafs

For the first time in a very long time, the goalie market looks to be incredibly potent this summer as we head into the final stretch before free agency.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, long rumored to be in the hunt for a number one goalie and consistently linked to Roberto Luongo, made a swap today with the Los Angeles Kings for goalie Jonathan Bernier. In exchange, the Kings received forward Matt Frattin, backup netminder Ben Scrivens and a second-round pick in either 2014 or 2015.

la_u_bernierj_600Bernier is eligible to become a restricted free agent this summer, but his agent, Pat Brisson, has stated that their camp has spoken with the Leafs about a contract.

“Obviously I’m very excited,” Bernier said. “Going to Toronto I think is a great challenge. They’ve got a really good young team and hopefully I can fit in and have some success with them.”

Stuck behind former Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick in the pecking order in LA, Bernier was looking to get more playing time—which he will most certainly get if he sticks with the Leafs.

“Unfortunately, he’s stuck behind Jonathan Quick which is a tough situation for Jon,” said Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall. “As a sense of fairness to him and at the timing that we felt was the best for the organization, we made the move.”

Bernier may just be the first of many goalies that we see on the move this summer. The Vancouver Canucks will undoubtedly try again to trade Roberto Luongo, possibly at the draft, which will take place June 30 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The team tried unsuccessfully to trade Luongo last summer and ended up holding on to him for the remainder of the lockout-shortened season. He started 18 games, winning nine with a 2.56 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.

According to CapGeek.com, the Canucks currently have less than $50,000 in available cap space with 17 players signed for next season, meaning they will either move Luongo—likely for a lesser deal—or buy him or another player out. Chances are good that Luongo will be moved at the draft.

Mike Smith is trending toward free agency this summer. After spending time with the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, Smith signed as a free agent with Phoenix where he became a star, leading the team to their first Conference Finals appearance last season. However, Smith will certainly be seeking a raise over the $2 million he made last season, and the uncertainty surrounding the ownership situation in Phoenix will likely be enough to send him elsewhere this summer.

Other potential free agent goalies this summer include Niklas Backstrom, Ray Emery, Evgeni Nabokov, Dan Ellis, Tim Thomas and Jose Theodore. Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovski are both eligible to become restricted free agents this summer as well.

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