Jonathan Bernier was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Whenever the Columbus Blue Jackets are mentioned in trade rumors these days, it’s about their efforts to move right winger Rick Nash.
Late last week, however, a report from the Columbus Dispatch claimed the Blue Jackets were also looking to add a goaltender.
Columbus GM Scott Howson had reportedly contacted the Los Angeles Kings about backup Jonathan Bernier, who recently stated his hope was that the Kings would trade him before training camp opens in September.
Earlier this summer, Howson acquired netminder Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers, so this report generated some speculation the Jackets would offer Steve Mason - who has struggled as a starter in Columbus - for Bernier.
In a subsequent interview with TSN, however, Howson denied the report and suggested it may have originated from enquiries he made at the NHL draft when he acquired Bobrovsky.
Howson appears content to go into the season with Mason and Bobrovsky as his goalie tandem.
As for his efforts to move Rick Nash, Howson said he has no deadline to trade the sniper and added he’d want a couple of NHL-ready forwards as part of the return.
BEAR MARKET FOR BERNIER
It’s been suggested Bernier hurt his value with his trade request because it made him look impatient and raised questions about his character.
Two things hurt his trade value, but they have nothing to do with his request.
The first is his limited playing time backing up Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles. While the 23-year-old Bernier has considerable promise, he only played 16 games this past season and 25 the season prior. That’s a thin resume for teams seeking an experienced goalie.
The second is there really isn’t much of a trade market right now for goaltenders.
The only true buyer is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hockey Night in Canada’s Andi Petrillo took to Twitter to claim she heard the Leafs had made an offer for Bernier.
That contradicts GM Brian Burke’s claim earlier this month that he wouldn’t consider bringing in an inexperienced netminder.
Burke said he’s prepared to enter next season with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as his tandem.
The Florida Panthers may be kicking the tires on Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and the Chicago Blackhawks have been loosely tied to Luongo as well, but both clubs appear to be comfortable with their current tandems.
Unless the situation has changed for those teams, Bernier will have to return to the Kings this fall and wait for the trade market to improve.
COULD SEMIN RETURN TO WASHINGTON?
As Alexander Semin searches for an NHL team willing to overlook criticism of his play, there’s been some talk he’ll return to the Washington Capitals.
However, GM George McPhee told Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com that he’s “never really discussed that sort of thing” or whether they’ll even sign another free agent and added he preferred to “stay neutral.”
McPhee said he wasn’t surprised Semin is still unsigned and suggested he had to find the right fit.
Gormley noted the former Capitals left winger has received interest from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes.
Semin apparently wants a two-year deal worth $10 million. The Hurricanes are willing to consider a one-year contract and the Penguins would also likely go that route.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.