I don’t think Yzerman is pushing to move Jonathan Bernier because if he’s moved, who is left in Detroit? A worn-out expiring Jimmy Howard? He hasn’t won a hockey game since October of 2019. Howard has a record of 2-22-2 with an atrocious 4.08 goals-against average and a 0.886 save percentage. You can’t make these numbers up, it’s terrible. I don’t believe Yzerman can stomach having Jeff Blashill run out Howard for the rest of the season each night.
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There is more to not moving Bernier. Detroit doesn’t have anyone even close in their system to making the NHL next season. The top goaltender prospect is Filip Larsson, who is currently playing in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye.
It was expected that Larsson would split time with veteran goaltender Calvin Pickard with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He started 7 games, lost 5 and posted similar numbers to Jimmy Howard, a 4.01 goals-against average, and a 0.843 save percentage. It was evident the jump from college isn’t straightforward, but Larsson is just 21 years old, but he isn’t close to wearing a Detroit Red Wings jersey.
Both Calvin Pickard and Jimmy Howard are pending free agents; both are not expected to be retained, which further builds the case to keep Bernier rather than trade him at the deadline. Bernier is under contract next season, which is the final year of his three-year deal. He carries a team-friendly $3 million cap hit.
Detroit will struggle to replace Bernier’s production for that money this summer. Perhaps Yzerman will look to free agency to replace Howard, perhaps Braden Holtby? That being said, the team will need a reliable backup, and Bernier has proved to be that guy.
Bernier has often been the Wings best player; he has a season record of 13-18-2 with a goals-against-average of 2.89 and a save percentage of 0.908. Both impressive playing on a disastrous 15 win team.
I’m sure Yzerman would move Bernier if a team ups the anti and overpays for a backup type goaltender. I’m sure if someone offers Detroit a second-round pick, Yzerman will move him, but don’t expect a team to provide that unless an injury occurs to a contender over the weekend. This is one player on this list Yzerman won’t be flexible within trade negotiations; it’s genuinely a second-rounder or nothing.