What to do about Jonathan Bernier: Minor league stint possibly in play

Jonathan Bernier is creating some serious problems for the Leafs aside from just the on-ice issues.
Tom Szczerbowski/Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

While nearly the entirety of the Toronto Maple Leafs' world celebrated the sensational debut of young goalie Garret Sparks, the Leafs developed an even more complicated situation in relation to goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

This past summer, Toronto agreed to a contract which committed $8 million over the next two seasons to Bernier, but Bernier has been one of the worst goalies in the NHL so far this year. If Sparks and goalie James Reimer continue to play well, Bernier will virtually be rendered obsolete. But with so much money committed to Bernier, the Leafs have to do something with him. The question is what. 

In SportsNet analyst Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 Thoughts column, Friedman suggested a conditioning stint at the AHL level could be a good possibility given that Bernier will likely be able to clear waivers since his hefty contract would be a likely deterrent against teams who might otherwise claim Bernier. 

Friedman also spoke with one of Bernier's former coaches, Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford, who had a tip for Bernier. 

“He had success playing deeper at the AHL level, and we moved him out a bit in the NHL,” Ranford told Friedman.

The Leafs seem to be making their own plans for Bernier. According to multiple reports on Twitter, Bernier was nowhere to be found at the start of morning skate Wednesday and did not join in until the end of the skate. 

(h/t SportsNet)

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