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Flyers ‘Frontrunners’ for G Jonathan Bernier, Kings Want Jake Voracek

Jun 18, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT


Peter Laviolette set an NHL record by making seven in-game goaltender switches during the 2011 playoffs. Now it seems Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is trying to one-up his head coach with a juggling act of his own.

For a franchise that was determined to discontinue the merry-go-round in their own net, the front office doesn’t appear to have much of a plan.

During the offseason that followed Lavvy’s historic indecisiveness, club chairman Ed Snider proclaimed the Flyers would “never” go through that with goalies again – except that’s exactly what’s happening here. The only difference is instead of playing out on the ice, it’s taking place over the telephone and on paper, fantasy hockey style.

Holmgren signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine year, $51 million contract. Part of the aftermath of that deal was trading 24-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus, where he promptly won the Vezina Trophy. Since trading Bob the club has acquired and extended Steve Mason, and drafted Anthony Stolarz. This was all over the past two years, mind you.

Now the front office is reportedly chasing Jonathan Bernier, the 24-year-old backup netminder for the Los Angeles Kings, and he won’t come cheap. Bernier, who has appeared in 62 career games over five NHL seasons, will likely demand a sizable contract extension, plus the Flyers will have send one or two of the quality players that make up their young core.

source:  And no, this is not a deal that gets done with Matt Read as a key part of the package. Per Tim Panaccio, the Kings are asking for Jakub Voracek, who is coming off a breakout season where he was named the Flyers’ most valuable player. You can bank on Sean Couturier’s name coming up as the feature piece in package at some point as well.

If you think Homer would reject either offer out of hand, it’s worth noting the Flyers (along with the Leafs) are currently considered one of the frontrunners to acquire Bernier according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. He also adds that the Kings are looking to make the exchange “sooner than later.”

The whole situation is completely ludicrous. Should they buyout Bryzgalov’s contract and land Bernier, in two years time the Flyers will have agreed to pay one goalie in excess of $20 million to play somewhere else, traded another who – at least for one season – was the best player between the pipes in the entire NHL, and blocked yet another who was brought here to compete for a job. Plus in doing so, they will have traded one, possibly two players/draft picks with future-All-Star potential.

That’s not even delving into what if anything this deal would mean long-term for Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick who is doing well in the OHL.

This for a player in Bernier who himself is not a proven commodity as a starting goaltender. Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan Quick’s understudy is an enticing option considering his career numbers – 29-20-6 record, .912 save percentage, and 2.36 goals against average. That’s 62 games during five years though. How would he hold up over a full season?

Is Bernier a sure thing? Is he the missing piece to a Stanley Cup run?

Who knows the answer to such questions, but trading an emerging star like Voracek after he posted 46 points in 48 games last season and was a perfect pairing for Claude Giroux, or Couturier who is already one of the better defensive forwards in the league seems incredibly short-sighted. The Flyers may feel like they have to move on this now because signing Bryz hasn’t worked out so far, but Bernier just looks like another costly band-aid – both in dollars and talent.

When this trade inevitably goes through, it will be the mark of an organization that’s working without blueprints. They panicked in 2011 with Bobrovsky, leading directly to Bryzgalov’s enormous contract, and they are panicking again with their wheeling and dealing, digging one hole to fill another somewhere else. That’s the Flyers way.

>> Source: Kings contact Flyers about goalie Bernier [CSN]

  1. aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Bernier for Couturier and Voracek? Umm, how about F*** No.

    If Homer is idiotic enough to make this trade, then he needs to go.

    • Andrew Kulp - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Swift, just to clarify it’s not Voarcek and Couturier. I will change the wording.

      • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        Ahh, gotcha.

        Regardless, I still wouldn’t move either Couturier, or Voracek for Bernier.

  2. Jesse - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    My head is going to explode. Every move Homer makes is more desperate than the last. I don’t get it. We have a super young core and it’s not like we’re one piece away from contention. Why not play the kids and see what happens for a year before signing 35 year olds and trading our best players for an unproven goalie?? Down the stretch last year, the young guys filled in admirably and Mason looked great. What’s the harm in giving them a year to see who develops and figuring it out from there. There is no continuity on this team.

    • BenE. - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      “Every move Homer makes is more desperate than the last.”

      ^ This this 100 times this. There is absolutely no harm in letting younger players develop on the ice over a few seasons. Goaltenders especially are tricky. Tim Thomas was benched by the Bruins in 2009-10 because he was terrible, then he comes back with a season and playoffs for the ages and wins the Stanley Cup, after hip surgery to boot. Now, Thomas’ former backup Tuukka Rask is coming on strong. Rask, it should be noted, was a Maple Leaf castoff in the deal for Andrew Raycroft. My point? Stop moving goaltenders around (besides Bryz) and let them play!!

  3. Jason R. - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    “When this trade inevitably goes through” properly illustrates the frustration and despair associated with Flyers FO.

  4. Andy Schreiber - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Sign him to an offer sheet. Problem solved.

    The Kings know darn well that the Flyers could just go ahead and do that. All this talk about Voracek is nothing but posturing on Lombardi’s part, hoping to entice another team to jump in & overpay. (Heck, why not just say that Giroux is the asking price? That ain’t happening either.)

    Homer should make a trade for Bernier. It’s a no-brainer. But the Kings will either have to settle for Read and a pick, or lose him to an offer sheet for nothing but a pick.

    I hope this Homer finds a way to get this done ASAP.

    • Andrew Kulp - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Except they can’t sign Bernier to an offer sheet until they amnesty Bryzgalov because of the salary cap, and they can’t (or don’t want to/shouldn’t) amnesty Bryz until they have a concrete deal for his replacement. And given multiple teams are interested in Bernier (Leafs, Islanders) one of them will undoubtedly make the trade before the Flyers could even submit an offer sheet.

      • Jesse - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Can you expand on this bit: “they can’t (or don’t want to/shouldn’t) amnesty Bryz until they have a concrete deal for his replacement.” I keep seeing that said and don’t get it. Is that part of the terms of the amnesty, or just the Flyers preference. What about Mason? Even if they don’t fully trust him, do they value Bryz that much more than him that they would keep Bryz on the team instead of freeing up 5.5 mil?

      • Andrew Kulp - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        If they amnesty Bryzgalov without a replacement, as you suggest Mason would become the starter. The problem with that scenario is nothing he’s done since 08-09 warrants naming him starter without some kind of competition. They need a second goalie, somebody credible, to push Mason, and if Bryzgalov is out of the picture, who exactly is that going to be? As long as it’s not somebody significantly better than Bryz (and looking at the class of free agents, it wouldn’t be), why buyout the contract and pay him all that money to play somewhere else when he can just play for the Flyers for another year?

        Technically they can just amnesty Bryz, sign whatever FA goalie they can get their hands on, and go with Mason, but I fail to see how that makes the situation better.

      • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        They could go with Bryzgalov for at least one more year, even though the salary cap is shrinking from $70m to $63m. So long as they amnesty at least Briere, that is. But the real problem with Bryzgalov’s contract comes next year, when they have to resign Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, and Claude Giroux. All three are going to end up with a pay raise, especially Giroux, and that’s going to be difficult to get done, if Bryzgalov is still on the books.

      • Andrew Kulp - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Sure. At this stage it’s not even about whether or not they should keep Bryz for the long haul. Unless he plays far, far better next season, it will be an easy decision to amnesty him at this point next year. But now they have Mason, and while I’m not confident he’s a No. 1, they brought him here to compete for the job. Stolarz is waiting in the wings as well, whether that’s a year or two away. My thing is I just don’t want to see them make another misguided long-term commitment to a goalie when they have other options. And if Bernier were an unrestricted free agent, that might be something of a different story, but trading pretty much anything for him would be a mistake for the Flyers in my book.

      • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        I agree 100% with you on those points.

      • BenE. - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        Kulp, I like Bernier, and I have brought up his name many times the last couple seasons. But you’re right, trading anyone (OK they can have Matt Read) for him would be another colossal error in what’s looking like the start of Homer’s Summer Fun House of Regrets.

      • Andy Schreiber - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Bryz has been so bad that having a “concrete deal for his replacement” is not an issue. Worst case scenario: Mason (who is a better goalie than Bryz).

        This stuff will get done soon. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

  5. swflyers8 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Nope, 100 times no. Get Tim Thomas as a backup. He said he wanted to play here. Homer, you do this and it will be extremely hard to cheer for this team anymore.

    • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Bringing in Tim Thomas as a backup to Steve Mason might not be a horrible idea, actually.

      The Flyers made the mistake two years ago when Ed Snider panicked, and demanded an Elite Goalie be signed to the team. They traded away the face of the franchise to clear the cap room for their Elite Goalie, and signed Ilya Bryzgalov to an albatross of a contract. At the time, there were cheaper stop-gap options available, most notably Tomas Vokoun, who ended up going to the Capitals for 1 year at $1.5m. The Flyers could have easily had someone of equal ability to Bryzgalov, for a fraction of Bryz’s price. And, had they signed Vokoun, it would have allowed the team to hang onto and continue developing Bobrovsky.

      Now, they’re more than likely going to amnesty their Elite Goalie in Brzgalov. But there are some similarities to the situation they were in before signing Bryz. They have a young Goalie with potential, who could very well develop into the solution to the carousel. They just have to give him an opportunity to play, and see if he can be the guy. Signing someone along the lines of a Tim Thomas could be a decent way to give the team an option if Mason isn’t what we hope he is.

    • willh888 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Thomas will be 40 next season. Only thing he’s backing up is the line to the urinal

      • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Jaromir Jagr was 40 when he played for the Flyers last year, so what’s your point?

      • willh888 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        the point is it’s rare to find a 40 year old good at anything athletic. That’s why Jagr is probably one of five in the entire league. It’s not even remotely a good option at such a vital position, as you also mentioned

      • smh... - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        Isnt thomas with the islanders?

      • Scott b - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        Live up in boston and word is Thomas has been doing exactly nothing to stay in any kind of shape. Apparently he’s just ballooned up, most likely to never return. But again that’s the media talking

  6. Kevin - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks Mason should get a shot next season? Don’t get me wrong, he definitely needs a veteran to split some time with, but jeez he’s only 25 and had a stellar rookie year. Let’s see if he can get back to form from his rookie year, and if he doesn’t pan out then make a decision later. If he does pan out then we have a goalie to rely on for the next couple years before Stolarz is ready to take the reigns.

    This is the problem with the FO, they have no patience. If you pick up Bernier then you basically give Mason no shot. And who knows what you would even have in Bernier, you might trade away quality young guys and wind up having to go with Mason for the long haul anyway. This is absurd.

    • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      They’re woefully impatient. It’s been an ongoing issue with the front office for a while. The media would tell you that they can’t afford to be patient with the way the fans are, but I don’t think they’re giving us the credit that we’re due. We can be patient, so long as we see that the team is headed in the right direction.

  7. willh888 - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Doesn’t St Louis have 3 starting caliber goalies they could pursue? Or is Homer just throwing out his hands for a gimme because he helped LA win a cup

  8. BenE. - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    This is such a f*cking mess I don’t even know where to start. 10 words or less: stop being impatient with young talent.

    • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Well put.

  9. BenE. - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Oh yeah and Nonis can go jerk off in a sock with that Bernier for Voracek offer. This isn’t NHL 13. I’m not even worried about Holmgren trading Jake because I still have a string of hope Homer isn’t that stupid.

  10. lfsportsnut - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about giving up Carter and Richards! Do we even realize that they got back Vorachek,Schenn, Simmondz? Bryz wasnt that bad last year the defense was atrocious! Lots of breakaways and 2 on1 and 3 on 1′s, Some days were bad but they had no back up for him either so he played alot

    • Mostel - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      I agree. They gave away less then they got back. And to be rid of Richards’ empty “C” was well worth it.

      • aswift5648 - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        I really, really hope you’re both trolling.

  11. Matt S. - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    So trade a guy who would project to 80 points over a full season for a goalie who has never been a starter in the NHL… Screw off LA. Matt Read and non 1st round draft picks take it or leave it.

    • tk - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Enjoy drafting top 10 for awhile!

  12. yishmeister - Jun 18, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Apparently the Flyers are the talent supply for the Kings now. Fire Holmgren and Lavvy and banish Snider to a retirement home in Siberia.

  13. Rick - Jun 18, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I think this would be a bad move and I agree with the lack of a blueprint comment. Seems more like they are throwing sh!t at the wall to see if it sticks. I think they should give Mason a real chance, and focus on getting more defense, Streit is a good pickup, but not enough, they need size back there. Mason can get the job done, don’t trade away the farm for another risky goalie–there’s a reason that guy is a backup.


    • FP3 - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Ed Snider is becoming more and more the Jerry Jones of the Flyers every passing day..

  14. laking223 - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    money on islanders getiin him for nino and a second

  15. Guest - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Remember when the Flyers were going after a goalie and I said to get some guy named Quick from LA? No, probably not. Too bad Holmgren didn’t listen. Instead we have Bryz.

  16. galasso2586 - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    This would be a terrible trade. The impatience of the front office is insane. We are a young team that needs time to develop, not one or two players away from a Cup. Under no circumstances should you trade your team MVP (who showed great chemistry with your captain and face of the franchise when the offense was lacking last year too). If we amnesty Bryz this year, then sign a FA back up. Nabokov or Khabibulin would do.

  17. truthsayer - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    I absolutely refuse to believe Homer would be this stupid, or that someone with sense in the organization wouldn’t be able to stop him even if he is this stupid. If this goes down, it becomes official: Homer has lost his mind, Snider is insane, and the wheels are off this thing for many years to come. We are the Washington Redskins (pre-RG3) of the NHL. I’m perfectly content to have 3-4 seasons of losing records with this team as currently constituted and Mason as our goalie for better or for worse. We get good draft picks, we build from within, then we make our run for the Cup for real, not like these past few years of band-aid/desperate moves that make us just good enough to (sometimes) get to round 2 but never beyond, and stifle our ability to draft a decent prospect (which it was why it was so frustrating to watch this team win 6 of their last 7 and probably cost to drop 5 slots in the draft).

  18. mikeburke - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Jeez, You Philly people really don’t get how good Jonathan Bernier really is. IF you are lucky enough to trade for this guy, all of you nay-sayers will be eating a huge dose of crow! Perhaps you don’t get west coast feeds? This kid is the real deal. I wish we could keep him. Next to the Kings, I love the Flyers and have since the BS Bullies days. I would MUCH rather watch Bernier in Philly for whomever it takes. If he goes to the Islanders, you will woe that day Holmgren REALLY screws up. Bernier is a super star. Mark my words. Won’t it be ironic if the Kings land Vorachek! I like Couturier more that Read, but like Read too. Anyway, I hope the Flyers can recover and be contenders in 2014! Tatsy Cakes rule. If you have Bernier, it is far more likely to happen for you.

    • BOOM - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      I don’t think anyone is denying that Bernier is a really talented goalie…the point that we are trying to make is that the kings are asking for arguably our best player for a backup goalie (granted a a good one) who has never played a full season…it makes no sense whatsoever….if this were the logic then we should trade mason for andre kopitar plus a couple draft picks…dont tell me that deal isn’t one sided either cause it is. Bernier is solid but not at the expense of voracek…..

      • tk - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Hasek was a “back-up” goalie at one time,

  19. Mike Dusak - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    gonna be one heck of an offseason, for better or worse, boys. *gulp

  20. Dan - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    I don’t imagine the kings are getting anything better than read and a second, or the rights to bozak and a pick. The pressure is on the king to trade him before the deadline.

  21. Matt S. - Jun 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Leafs just got him for Scrivens, Frattin, and a 2nd. Wonder if that makes Reimer expendable?

    • BenE. - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      I can’t believe they aren’t sticking with Reimer. He has greatly improved and looked like he was going to be Toronto’s guy.

    • BenE. - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      And to make your head spin, I have a feeling this means Bryz is staying in Philly, though I don’t know if that’s even possible. Gotta shed $4.5 million just to get under the cap now that Briere is gone.

      • Mostel - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        Bill Meltzer over at Hockeybuzz seems to think Bryz is still a maybe and we’re more likely to ditch out Mez.

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