Friday, 20 January 2012
01/18/12 Trading Khabibulin Part Two: Los Angeles
Earlier today, Darren Dreger answered a question from an Oilers fan who wondered if Nikolai Khabibulin could be traded at the deadline and if there was any way the Oilers could acquire Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles. Amazingly, Dreger didn't shoot it down.
Before proceeding, let's be clear: Darren Dreger did not suggest that the Oilers and Kings are talking about a trade involving Bernier or Khabibulin. What he did say was that a deal of Khabibulin for Bernier would make sense if it was part of a larger equation, which probably includes Ales Hemsky.
In this situation the Kings would land one of the bigger top six forward names out there for the second year in a row, as well as a Stanley Cup Champion in Khabibulin. The current Oilers netminder wouldn't be relied upon to be the starter in LA, but he is decent insurance for a playoff run. Hemsky is obviously the real prize here, as the Kings would add some more punch to their anemic offense.
The Oilers would be acquiring a 23 year old goalie that may be ready to grab a starting job full time. Bernier is having a difficult season this year with a 2.73 GAA and 0.895 Sv%, but over the course of his career his numbers are better at 2.60 GAA and a 0.908 Sv%. The sample size is small, however, with Bernier having appeared in just 41 NHL games. Bernier was the starter in Manchester of the AHL back in 2009-10, where he posted an impressive 0.936 save percentage and 2.03 goals against average. The young goalie is a restricted free agent after next season and currently carries a cap hit of $1.25 million, which is a $2.5 million savings over Khabibulin.
Jonathan Bernier is two years younger than Devan Dubnyk, but he does have slightly better numbers, and being young means that he fits into the long term rebuilding plan. That would allow the Oilers to let Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz cut their teeth in lower leagues and get the seasoning that they will need going forward.
Do the Oilers win this deal, or could they get more for Hemsky?