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Abel to Yzerman

Re-sign Jonathan Bernier?

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Bernier is coming off a three-year, $9 million contract. Thomas Greiss, who rebounded from a poor start to post a .912 save percentage and 2.70 GAA in 34 games, was signed last October for two years, $7.2 million.

There are multiple goaltenders who could hit the open market this offseason, but high-profile ones such as Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) are either likely to re-sign with their previous teams or make more sense for a team in win-now mode.

If Yzerman wants to bring in somebody younger, Chris Driedger could be an interesting choice. He’s 27, and coming off a two-year, $1.7 million contract. The 6-foot-4 Driedger spent the past two seasons with the Florida Panthers, backing up Sergei Bobrovsky. Driedger went 14-6-3 in in 23 starts with a .927 save percentage and 2.07 GAA in 23 starts this season. He played three games in the playoffs, posting a .871 save percentage and 3.70 GAA, after Bobrovsky failed to impress in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Re-signing Bernier would seem to be the safest route, perhaps on a short-term deal in the $3 million range. Bernier has developed the mental toughness to play on a team in a rebuild, able to block out losing games in a way he wasn’t able to when he was with the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs from 2013-16. He was traded during the summer that the Leafs — the NHL's worst team in 2015-16 — won the draft lottery and were able to add Auston Matthews, transforming the franchise.

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Comments

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Yes resign him if there’s no opportunity to snag a young goalie for minimum cost from a team at risk of losing him from the expansion draft.

Otherwise I’d be fine even giving him a raise to like 4 million per year, but not for more than 2 years. We don’t need to be locking up goalies in the twilights if their career for more than two years. He’s played above expectations for the last two seasons, but what’s the likelihood he continues to do that for 2+ years?

Posted by beantownredwings on 05/28/21 at 08:28 AM ET

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As has already been stated, I would prefer they look at someone younger that a team may be in jeopardy of losing to the expansion draft that could stick around for a little while. If that bears no fruit then go ahead and see if you can ink Bernier for another year or two.

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/28/21 at 08:43 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I don’t see a younger option that has future cornerstone netminder as a ceiling, Yzerman might, if so, sign that goalie.  Otherwise, Yzerman will need to overpay Bernier a bit to take hopefully a 2 year deal, unless he wants to pay market for 3.  We have a lot of capspace currently, I would spend today to save for tomorrow.  I also expect Yzerman to draft a goalie this year too, so this gives whomever some cushion.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/28/21 at 09:29 AM ET

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I don’t see a younger option that has future cornerstone netminder as a ceiling,

Personally I’m not worried about putting a “cornerstone” goaltender in place this year when our young D and forward cores are years away from their prime and a lot haven’t even played a game yet in the NHL.

Posted by beantownredwings on 05/28/21 at 09:32 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Young goalies can be so fickle. 

Jordan Binnington
Matt Murray
Tristan Jarry
Malcom Subban

Names I think of off the top of my head where they had high expectations and it didn’t pan out. 

I’d resign Bernier if they can, and if he actually wants to stay.  If not, what’s Ty Conkln up to?

Posted by TreKronor on 05/28/21 at 10:03 AM ET

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Young goalies can be so fickle.

I think all goalies can be fickle and I’d take any one of those goalies listed on the wings in a heartbeat. Maybe hesitate about Subban.

My point overall is there are lots of options and we don’t need to give Bernier term just to keep him.

Posted by beantownredwings on 05/28/21 at 10:45 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

If the Wings can get Petruzzelli signed and they get either Wallstedt or Cossa in this year’s draft, go ahead and sign Bernier. Even give him three years at the same salary as Greiss. That will take the Wings to the point where one of the younger goalies may be ready.

If they can’t sign Petruzzelli and theydon’t take either of this year’s top goalie prospects, then try to get Driedger (although it would probably take overpaying in terms of money and years). He might want as much at $5M for 5 years to stick around during the rebuild.

Whatever Yzerman does in the next moth or so will tell us a lot about just where he thinks the Wings are in the rebuild. Should be interesting.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/28/21 at 11:30 AM ET

d ca's avatar

No. The Wings should wait and be actively pursuing other opportunities (I prefer Connor Ingram—see below)—-but there are many others. If those don’t pan out then sure circle back to Bernier.

Bernier of course will turn 33 yrs old before next season—an age when goalies start to decline and get bitten by the injury bug more frequently and thereby become backups instead of starters or 1b starters—and smartly he wants to lock in a contract (and probably a multi-year deal) before that happens.

An interesting article on this topic was written in 2015: you can read it here.

  In essence, what we know about aging and goaltender development tells us that Jonathan Bernier, at 27 years old, may just be hitting that moment where his experience has caught up with his body. For a little while, at least, it is reasonable to think that his brain may be able to overcome any physical slowdown he might be experiencing

Everyone ages differently, of course, and we have far too little understanding of the position from a statistical standpoint to be able to measure where any given player is improving or declining at any given time.

Certainly we can have more confidence that age will affect the 34-year-old Ryan Miller than we can that it will affect Jonathan Bernier in the upcoming season.

Still, eventually, age will catch up to all goaltenders. Some sooner and more starkly than others.

And that is before you look at who is on the open market:
Tuukka Rask, 34, UFA, Frederik Andersen, 31, UFA, Pekka Rinne, 38, UFA, Devan Dubnyk, 35, UFA,
Antti Raanta, 32, UFA, James Reimer, 33, UFA, Philipp Grubauer, 29, UFA, Petr Mrázek, 29, UFA, David Rittich, 28, UFA, Carter Hutton, 35, UFA, Anders Nilsson, 31, UFA, Linus Ullmark, 27, UFA, Jaroslav Halák, 36, UFA, Brian Elliott, 36,UFA, Aaron Dell, 32, UFA, Laurent Brossoit, 28, UFA, Curtis McElhinney, 38, UFA, Henrik Lundqvist, 39,UFA, Mike Smith, 39, UFA, Vasili Demchenko, 27,UFA, Chris Driedger, 27, UFA

Of course if you didn’t like any of the open market players to acquire…there are always RFA’s to acquire (not saying it wouldn’t be ridiculously expensive for some—just that they are technically RFA’s):
Ilya Sorokin, 25, RFA , Juuse Saros, 26,RFA, Adam Huska, 24,RFA, Igor Shesterkin, 25, RFA, Ilya Samsonov, 24, RFA, Veini Vehvilainen, 24, RFA, Colton Point, 23, RFA, Adam Werner, 24, RFA, Gilles Senn, 25, RFA, Ryan Bednard, 24, RFA, Joseph Woll, 22, RFA but a10.2(c), Adin Hill, 25, RFA, Emil Larmi, 24, RFA, Felix Sandström, 24, RFA, Stuart Skinner, 22, RFA, Evan Fitzpatrick, 23, RFA, Filip Gustavsson, 23, RFA, Jeremy Helvig, 24, RFA, Alex Nedeljkovic, 25, RFA, Tyler Parsons, 23, RFA, Carter Hart, 22, RFA, Josef Korenar, 23, RFA, Evan Cormier, 23, RFA

Now add all the goalies on teams that can’t protect two from Seattle….

Why not target Connor Ingram since Nashville already has Juuse Saros who will be their protected goalie? or how about Joonas Korpisalo, 27, in Columbus with a similar problem. Both unless moved would likely be exposed to Seattle and lost for nothing. You could even target players on short term deals that are a few years younger than Bernier like Braden Holtby (turning 32 year old who has only 1 more year of term) or Jake Allen (turning 31 yrs old with 2 yrs left @2.875M),  or how about Chris Driedger just turned 27 (since Bobrovsky’s got an automatic NMC), or you could even go same age players like Semyon Varlamov that have a short-term left vs having to go to a multi-year deal.

But if Yzerman is going to use the Ken Holland playbook of rewarding loyalty to aging veterans while their age alone results in their skills declining this team will continue to have significant holes in the lineup.

Posted by d ca on 05/28/21 at 12:15 PM ET

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Merzlikins doesn’t have to be exposed so Korpisalo will be protected.
Columbus is going to trade on of them, likely between expansion and the start of the coming season.

I think the advantage with Bernier is he’s known and trusted and liked
and is battle hardened already to play in this rebuilding environment.
He knows what it’s like to not have gaudy run support or an airtight defense
in front of him.

I’m not sure we’re at a point where it makes sense to bring in an unknown quantity just because they’re a bit younger. Sure both Greiss and Bernier are likely to miss some games, but both are also trusted veterans who are now used this challenge.

Now is there a young guy blocked in someone’s system who might be able to challenge after this coming season when Greiss will be a UFA? A sleeper type who might come cheap and be worth a calculated gamble?

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/28/21 at 05:02 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

I think you wait until after the expansion draft. There will be teams who don’t want to lose a goalie for nothing, so we might be able to swing a deal for one. Hopefully, we’ll grab a goaltender-of-the-future type this year, also.

Posted by Steeb on 05/28/21 at 05:31 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I think you wait until after the expansion draft.

Posted by Steeb on 05/28/21 at 05:31 PM ET

Agree.  As much as I don’t mind having Bernier back in net for the Wings, that expansion draft is a big deal.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/28/21 at 05:53 PM ET

WingDingy's avatar

Re-signing Bernier for two more years is a no brainer.  Both he and Greiss gave the Wings a chance to win games they had no business winning.  What else could you possibly want?

Posted by WingDingy on 05/28/21 at 07:33 PM ET

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What else could you possibly want?

Someone who is younger, cheaper, less injury prone and not at an age where the potential to fall off a cliff is ever increasing.

Posted by beantownredwings on 05/28/21 at 07:34 PM ET

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Why not target Connor Ingram since Nashville already has Juuse Saros

The biggest question mark here is Ingram’s current status. AFAIK, he spent part of this season in rehab and didn’t play any hockey. I’m not really comfortable giving up much in the way of assets when we really have no idea if his problems are behind him and what affect his lifestyle changes (or lack thereof) might affect his on-ice skills.

Posted by evileye on 06/01/21 at 11:52 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com