TSN: Kings’ Bernier heading back to juniors


    Habster’ take:
    It appears the Jonathan Bernier experiment with the LA Kings has come to an end for the time being. The talented prospect will be returning to his junior team, the Lewiston Maineniac of the QMJHL for his final year of junior eligibility as the Kings did not want to risk his development.If they would have kept him past the 10 game limit, then the Kings would have had to keep him on the NHL roster which wasn’t an option.

    Bernier is a very talented young player who some scouts consider to be a “can’t miss” prospect but it was obvious to Kings management that he wasn’t ready for the NHL just yet. Bernier had some rough games with little help from a surprisingly porous defense (Kings have given up a league high 23 goals and counting!!!). There are only two players (Scott Thornton +1 and Jaroslav Modry +2) on the positive side of the plus/minus stats with the likes of Brad Stuart(-6) and Rob Blake (-7) being way over into the minus side (see: TEAM STATS).
    If this porous defensive play and weak goaltending continues, then expect the trade rumour winds to start up again with Montreal being mentioned in the mix as well. The other more likely bandage option would be to call the agents of Curtis Joesph, Dan Cloutier or Robert Esche.
    I don’t want to sound like “make it up as we go” Eklund but the Kings have a lot of depth at the center position with players like Derek Armstrong, Michael Cammalleri (probably untouchable), Michal Handzus (injury prone), Patrick O’Sullivan and Anze Kopitar (also untouchable). All these players are natural centers so anything is possible…..Food for thought, Canadiens fans!!!, Food for thought!!!!