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Bernier deal makes cap sense for Kings

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun spoke to the Los Angeles Kings' management about their decision to swallow hard and reluctantly trade Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, and he explains that the Kings' cap status as having $6.1 million in cap space (as the cap drops from $70.2 million to $64.3 million this summer) to attempt to re-sign UFA's Rob Scuderi, Dustin "Pancakes" Penner and Brad Richardson, as well as RFA's Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Alec Martinez, Keaton Ellerby and Jake Muzzin played a big role in the trade--because the Leafs agreed to essentially take on $500,000 in cap space to make the deal happen:

Philadelphia, Minnesota, Florida and the New York Islanders were also believed to be in the mix at varying degrees over the past week. The Flyers, a source told ESPN.com, pushed hard for Bernier with Matt Read the key asset being dangled.

But in the end, the Toronto deal -- forward Matt Frattin, goalie Ben Scrivens and a second-rounder in 2014 or 2015 -- made the most sense, especially when the Leafs agreed to retain $500,000 in salary in the trade, cap space that the Kings dearly need (see Scuderi, above) plus RFAs that need new deals in Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Kyle Clifford, Alex Martinez and Jake Muzzin. Bernier's agent, Pat Brisson, told ESPN.com Sunday that he expected to begin talks on a new contract for the goalie -- who is also an RFA -- over the next few days
That $500,000 component was a major part of this deal.

Getting a backup goalie in the deal in Scrivens was also important: It means Lombardi doesn’t have to go out on the market and find one, an option that likely would have cost a higher salary than the $612,500 Scrivens makes. Frattin has the talent to be a decent second-line player and at $925,000 he’s relatively cheap, too.

LeBrun continues at length, and he offers some trade rumors as well:

  • The Leafs aren’t done shopping. They still want a top-four defenseman and a young, top center. The latter might prove more difficult to come by.
  • Toronto’s acquisition of Bernier will finally put an official end to the Roberto Luongo trade rumors that began year ago at the June draft in Pittsburgh when Vancouver and Toronto began their discussions, talks that heated up before the April 3 trade deadline before falling apart. Luongo will hopefully find a new home, but it won’t be in Toronto.
  • Minnesota and Philadelphia must now decide what to do next. The Wild were interested in Bernier because they didn’t know if they could re-sign pending UFA goalie Niklas Backstrom. The Flyers were willing to buy out Ilya Bryzgalov if they would get their hands on Bernier. Do they still buy him out?

Questions which will get answers soon enough. Brace yourself folks, the silly season is just starting.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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