We already have comments from Dean Lombardi talking about Bud Holloway, Willie Mitchell, Dustin Penner and Rob Scuderi from today’s conference call up on the homepage. Now, let’s double back and take a look at how this all started – a trade that sent goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Toronto.
“Since last year,” Lombardi said, when asked how long discussions had been going on between the two teams. “Actually, David (Nonis) was very aggressive on this back in the beginning of last year, as soon as the lockout had ended. And I don’t blame him, this is a good young goalie. Actually, last year he we had talked a number of times. From my perspective, I wasn’t completely convinced that it was time to move Jon. I just didn’t feel good about the timing of it for the team, and then with the lockout and everything. In the end, thank God I didn’t move him, because he was clearly instrumental in us making the playoffs, and Quick struggled at times. But it’s fair to say that actually as soon as David god the job, he was by far the most persistent. And then when the season ended, we picked it up again. So it might be safe to say that we’ve been talking about this for eight months. But in the end, like I said, I’m glad I didn’t move Jon Bernier at the time because he was really good this year and was instrumental in us making the playoffs.”
After persistent rumors that the Kings were likely sending Bernier to Philadelphia for Matt Read, talks reportedly cooled this week as it became more apparent that LA wanted a back-up goalie included in any deal – something the Flyers couldn’t really accommodate.
As such, Lombardi was asked, how important it was to receive another goalie in return:
“Well, I think what happened here – it’s hard to describe. The hard part on this one was at first we came to the conclusion that after this year we were going to have to move him. It’s two-fold – one, it was very clear that the player had asked to be moved last year, but again, we convinced him to do the best he can, and that was an obligation to the team which he fulfilled to a T. But in fairness, we knew that he deserved the chance at this point to be a number one. And like I’ve been saying through this process – unfortunately in today’s game, you’re not allowed to have a Grant Fuhr and an Andy Moog. It’s almost like what you see in the NFL. I don’t know who can have two number one quarterbacks. So that’s just the reality of what I’m dealing with. You just work through the process. What made it difficult is you have to run – and I don’t particularly relish these deals, because you don’t start out with a hockey deal. It’s almost an asset deal. So it’s a very different discussion with general managers in that I’m running an auction here.
“So part of the mix too in all this is not only moving a goalie and getting what you can, but also making the contract coming back your way fit. So getting the back-up goalie that we feel can be solid – and actually we also feel has some upside here – and then also the contracts for both players fit within the scheme of what we have to accomplish here going forward to keep our own players. So it’s not only getting a back-up goalie that’s important. It’s a guy that we believe has some upside and will be good in that role as he continues to improve, but also the contracts allow us to continue to focus on keeping this team together. When you’re saying you’re running an asset deal, those assets that you’re evaluating are also evaluated in terms of fitting within the scheme of keeping your team together in an era which is very difficult because the cap all of a sudden did a radical change in coming down. So it’s not just one issue. It was a very difficult deal to make. There was a lot of due diligence, a tremendous amount of phone calls to narrow it down to the teams that were serious, and then trying to pull the trigger convinced that this was the best deal you were going to get.”
During this segment of the call, Lombardi also shared a few thoughts on prospect Martin Jones – specifically, regarding how ready he may be to advance from starting in Manchester to becoming Jonathan Quick’s back-up in LA.
“I think it’s fair to say we’d like to see Jonesy take another step in his development,” said Lombardi. “Like a lot of young goalies, he was really good at times. He’s on the same path – I’m not saying he’s going to be as good of a goalie – but his development cycle is kind of similar to the other guys. Again, I’m not comparing him to Quick and Bernier – more development cycle, and I think it’s fair to say we’d like to see him continue to improve his play and then also, like so many young players, is to nail down the consistency. So still a very good prospect, but I think you know how I feel about giving kids proper time to develop.”
For more from Lombardi and the related trade, please see the links linked below.
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