Colorado Avalanche Should Explore a Jonathan Bernier Trade

ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Jonathan Bernier
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Jonathan Bernier /

The Colorado Avalanche have limited the games of Semyon Varlamov so far this season, but is it time for the team to explore trading their back-up?

About a month ago, when the Colorado Avalanche finally traded Matt Duchene, they were able to acquire seven assets for their talented forward. Three of the assets were young players and three were future draft picks. Some of the young players have already begun to pay dividends for the Avs.

Then there was Andrew Hammond, a veteran goaltender. He was the one player involved that did not necessarily figure into the organization’s future plans. Many have suggested trading him for a draft pick, or prospect. Instead, I would argue that Hammond should really be considered for the team’s back-up goalie position for the rest of the season.

I am writing this as the team’s current back-up, Jonathan Bernier, is coming off his worst game of the year. However, I mean this suggestion as a compliment to Bernier. Bernie probably has the higher trade value of the two goalies. As with every other decision the organization makes this season, the Colorado Avalanche should have at least one eye on the future.

Starting Goaltender

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Varly is pretty clearly the starting goalie for the Colorado Avalanche as long as he can stay healthy. As such, he should start between 40-45 of the team’s remaining games this season, provided the Avs remain in contention. If Varly gets hurt, I would argue that neither Bernier nor Hammond is likely to lead the Avs to the playoffs. If the Avs are out of contention, the back-up matters far less.

Back-up Goaltender

In any case, that leaves between 12-17 starts for a back-up goalie for the remainder of this year. I would argue that the difference between Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond over those games is negligible in terms of Colorado’s long term development. If Bernier could fetch a greater return, he is the goalie that should be traded.

Both Bernier and Hammond are in the final year of their contracts. They will both be UFAs next summer. Neither of them are terribly likely to be back with the Colorado Avalanche organization next year. Colorado will likely be in the market for a new back-up over the summer, unless they feel that Spencer Martin is ready to take the next step.

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Bernier has had a few good moments as the Avalanche back-up goalie this season. He has 4 wins, including an impressive shutout of Dallas. His performance in overtime against Minnesota was nothing short of spectacular. However, he has been inconsistent, including a few starts where he was largely at fault for an Avs loss.

With that said, I feel that he should have a decent trade value based on past performance. He put up a 21-7-4 mark with Anaheim last year, including a 2.51 GAA and .915 SV %. He also appeared in 4 playoff games for the Ducks. Bernier has also shown the ability to be a solid short-term starter with a good team in front of him. Both Edmonton and Pittsburgh may be in the market for just that.

Andrew Hammond

Andrew Hammond has not appeared on the ice during an NHL game this season. During Varlamov’s sickness earlier this year, he did wear a hat on the Colorado bench in expert fashion. He has put up good numbers for the Belleville Senators of the AHL. Hammond is 6-2-2 with a 2.75 GAA and .917 SV %. He also has 55 NHL games under his belt.

Next: Colorado Avalanche: Andrew Hammond Profile

While his NHL sample size is far smaller than Bernier’s I would argue that Hammond would likely be able to match, or surpass, Bernier’s NHL stats from this year. The Avalanche are also in the aforementioned position where this season’s back-up goalie should be of less importance than whatever draft pick(s) they can acquire for the future. All I’m saying is, give the Hamburgler a chance.