Frozen Royalty: It’s Time For Jonathan Bernier To Play In The NHL
Gann Matsuda has been a busy guy at training camp with interviews and commentary. Here’s his latest on almost every fan’s favorite prospect Jonathan Bernier.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the Los Angeles Kings opened their 2010 training camp on September 18 at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, one of the biggest question marks really isn’t a question at all.
Indeed, despite what the Kings are saying about who their backup goaltender will be on opening night, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, Jonathan Bernier will be their number two goaltender, leaving Erik Ersberg, who served as the Kings’ full-time backup the last two seasons, as the odd man out.
Bernier, 22, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft, was the American Hockey League’s best goaltender last season, leading the Manchester Monarchs (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate), to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Last season, Bernier was impressive, to say the least. In 58 regular season games for the Monarchs (3,424 minutes), he earned a 30-21-6 record, a 2.03 goals-against average (GAA), a .936 save percentage and nine shutouts.
In 16 playoff games (996 minutes) last season, Bernier was 10-6, with a 1.81 GAA and a .939 save percentage.
To be sure, the 5-11, 184-pound native of Laval, Quebec has excelled at every level and appears to possess elite-level skills. But until last season, Bernier had a lot of growing up to do, perhaps feeling a sense of entitlement after being a first round draft pick.
Indeed, just a couple of years ago, I asked the brash, cocky netminder how he would feel if the Kings decided to send him to the minors even if he performed well at their 2008 training camp.
“I’ll be mad, really mad,” he said.
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