Despite Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s suggestion earlier this month that his club was more interested in landing a proven NHL starting goaltender this off-season, Hockey Night in Canada reporter Andi Petrillo tweeted Monday that the Leafs have submitted an offer for Los Angeles Kings backup Jonathan Bernier:
Hearing the Leafs have put in an offer to G Jonathan Bernier.
— Andi Petrillo (@andipHNIC) July 17, 2012
Bernier, a 23-year-old native of Laval, Que., was considered the future franchise goalie when the Kings selected him 11th overall in 2006. He never established himself and watched this spring as Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick led the Kings to the Cup and signed a $58 million, 10-year extension that begins in 2013-14.
Bernier requested a trade from the Kings back at the midseason deadline but now expects to be traded near the beginning of training camp, TVA reported last week. He wants to be a starter.
Bernier has one season left on his two-year, $2.5 million deal. He appeared in 16 games in 2011-12, going 5-6-2 with a 2.36 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and one shutout. In three seasons with the Kings, Bernier has played a total of 48 games.
Contrary to Monday’s report, during a July radio interview Burke indicated that Toronto is not considering an offer for a goaltender with Bernier’s lack of experience.
"We're not looking at that avenue," Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Prime Time Sports. "A couple goalies that moved are young, unproven guys. That's an avenue were not interested in. We've kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.”
He did not name Bernier specifically and said he would like to upgrade in net for "a reasonable price."
The Columbus Blue Jackets have also inquired about Bernier, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
“They could simply return the Kings' first-round pick acquired last February in the Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson deal,” speculated Dispatch writer Aaron Portzline. “The Blue Jackets passed on using it this season, so they have the Kings' 2013 first-rounder. Perhaps Steve Mason, in the final year of a contract but three years into a slump in Columbus, would be part of the deal, too.”
Listen: Brian Burke talks Leafs roster upgrades: