Mar 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jonathan Bernier Earned the #1 Job

As Leafs Nation eagerly awaits the fate of James Reimer, we’re given the perfect opportunity to quickly assess the debut performance of the man who displaced him, Jonathan Bernier.

How did Bernier fare in his debut campaign for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

According to the numbers, his debut was very respectable. Bernier posted a healthy record of 26-19-7 in 55 games for the Leafs. Turning to the peripheral numbers, he recorded a save percentage of .923 and allowed 2.63 goals per game on average. He also earned one shutout.

How do these numbers compare to his career numbers?

These numbers are slightly lower than his career numbers, but Bernier was playing for the Los Angeles Kings prior to joining the Leafs and there’s no point comparing these two clubs since Los Angeles are clearly the better team. That’s why they’re lugging some new hardware this summer while the Leafs carry around the same old 9-irons.

How did he perform in comparison to other starters?

Mar 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save on Los Angeles Kings right-wing Marian Gaborik (12) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Among qualifying goalies, Bernier finished 16th overall in wins, 10th overall in save percentage and 34th overall in goals against average, but this disguises the fact his performance declined a bit after the Olympic break, paralleling the fate of the Leafs. Hopefully, the decline was due solely to the groin injury he suffered in March against the Kings. I would hate to think it’s a sign he can’t manage full-time minutes in the NHL.

(Bernier also faced the seventh most shots in the league despite starting in only 49 games, which underscores just how horrible the Leafs’ defence played last season.)

How does Bernier’s debut compare to other Leafs goalies?

Here’s the interesting thing: Reimer posted very similar numbers in his debut season. He went 20-10-5 with three shutouts in 37 games, posting a save percentage of .921 and a goals against average of 2.60.

What does this mean?

The Leafs should keep Bernier away from head coach Randy Carlyle. He has a penchant for ruining young goaltenders – one more reason to fire him.

If Bernier can save a puck, let’s hope he can’t save his head coach’s job. There’s been a lot of movement in the Leafs brass today and that might be a sign general manager Dave Nonis’ and Carlyle’s time in Toronto is running short.

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Tags: Jonathan Bernier Toronto Maple Leafs

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