from Nicholas Emanuelli of The Hockey News,
Today, we look at three UFAs-to-be who spent the 2020-21 season with NHL cellar-dwellers. As a result, the trio may not have the dazzling numbers of some other members of the cohort, but each has at least some upside. So don’t be too alarmed if your team grabs one of these guys in the off-season, even if your initial reaction is unfavorable.
Jonathan Bernier – Detroit Red Wings
You may scoff, but Jonathan Bernier is a more interesting case than many give him credit for. Though his name still carries some stink from the much-maligned end to his tenure with Toronto, Bernier’s three-year stint with Detroit was quietly commendable.
His time in Toronto started auspiciously enough. The six-foot, 185-pound goalie arrived in Toronto as the apparent goalie of the future after being acquired from Los Angeles on June 23, 2013. Bernier, 24 at the time, was a hyped prospect but was stuck behind Jonathan Quick in L.A.
In his first two years in Blue and White, Bernier had a 47-47-14 record, with a .917 save percentage and 2.79 goals-against average in 113 contests as the 1A to James Reimer's 1B. Solid numbers behind porous Leafs teams.
But then 2015-16 happened. Because of the market it came in, the disastrous campaign still tinges his legacy to this day. Bernier faltered badly on an obviously-tanking Leafs team, even earning a ‘get right’ stint with the AHL Marlies in December of 2015. Bernier started just 36 NHL games – by far his fewest as a Leaf – and his penchant for allowing bad goals lost management's confidence.
The Leafs brought Frederik Andersen in that off-season and subsequently shipped Bernier to Anaheim. Bernier then spent one season as a backup in Anaheim and another as a backup in Colorado, playing well and even earning playoff starts in both years.
On July 1, 2018, Bernier signed a three-year, $9-million deal with Detroit. Back on a team in the doldrums, Bernier’s raw numbers regressed to well below league average. But taking a closer look, things aren’t so bad.
In the past two seasons, Bernier has a record of 24-33-4, with a .909 SP and 2.96 GAA in 70 games. In that same period, all other Detroit goalies combined have a 12-43-11 record, with a .891 SP and 3.47 GAA. That’s a 70-point pace for Detroit in Bernier’s decisions and a 43-point pace with anyone else in net....
a bit more on Bernier plus two other goalies mentioned...