The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs finally completed a goaltender swap on Friday, 18 days after the first part was consummated.
Jonathan Bernier will head back to Southern California and reunite with Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis after the Maple Leafs dealt him to the Ducks for a 2017 conditional draft pick. This comes on the heels of Frederik Andersen going from Anaheim to Toronto for two picks on June 20.
The Ducks now have a veteran backup for John Gibson, who’s signed for three more seasons. Bernier has one year left on his current deal. The trade helps Anaheim a bit financially as they’ll be on the hook for only $2.15 million of his salary after Toronto paid out a $2 million signing bonus on July 1, a factor which played into the decision to not include him in the Andersen deal.
Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters at prospect development camp that a backup will be acquired (Jhonas Enroth?), meaning RFA Garret Sparks and his cool pads will be likely re-signed and kept in the AHL.
It wasn’t the best of seasons for Bernier in 2015-16. Early season struggles saw head coach Mike Babcock turn to Sparks and James Reimer in goal, forcing the 27-year-old netminder to go down to the AHL to get his game back. He helped the Toronto Marlies win three of his four starts while posting a .948 save percentage. He’d return to the Maple Leafs and finish the year with a .910 even strength save percentage.
The move also opens up some cap room for the Leafs, who have a few RFAs to decide on and could also potentially dip into the leftover UFA market as well.
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