Pick the starting goalie

Who should be the Kings’ starting goalie this season? It figures to be the biggest question of training camp and one that doesn’t have an obvious answer. Should they go with the potential of Jonathan Bernier or the experience of Jason LaBarbera? Or somewhere in between, with Erik Ersberg? Or a wild card? You make the call…

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  • ryan oliver

    I voted Bernier, only because since they are going with youth and building this team around all the young guys, who better then to get 40 plus shots a night then Bernier.

  • Nick

    I say let Ersberg try to continue what he was doing at the end of last season. He deserves a legitimate shot.

  • ReggieMoto

    I voted Labarbera because of experience.

    We have all heard that DL wants to go slow with Bernier and he doesn’t want him backstopping a weak defense. So I figure Labarbera and Ersberg start with the club out of camp, and Bernier starts the season in Manchester. After that it’s anybody’s guess.

  • Timoteo

    I think Labs and Ersberg splitting time with Bernier getting the majority of starts in the AHL. Both Labs and Ersberg stepped up their play toward the end of the year, with Ersberg especially playing well. Bernier playing in the AHL would be a step up from juniors and allow him to continue to develop without being thrown into the fire.

  • Tompa

    Unless we get some major help on our blueline via trades or whatever the coming weeks, I say have Bernier do a full season in the AHL. I think it will be better for him in the long run.

    LaBarbera and Ersberg can duke it out over the #1 spot for now. As impressive as Ersberg was, I don’t think a goalie with his small frame is a totally viable option once the other teams scout him out. And Labs numbers last season were actually pretty good even though he was rarely spectacular. Between the two of them I think we can get decent goaltending.

  • Maverick

    Wow, there were a lot more Labarbera supporters than I thought. I voted for Ersberg. Labarbera had his shot and he was proven a backup goaltender. Ersberg certainly showed the Kings a little something at the end of last season. Now it is time to see if he can do that for a whole season. Bernier would do good with a full season in Manchester and third string to the Kings this season, but I think by day one we should be looking at Ersberg/Laberbera as the grouping.

  • txkingsfan

    Bernier’s time will come but not before this young team gets its feet wet at the NHL level. Putting Bernier out there right now could be severely detrimental to his development. We saw what happened last year when he got sent down. He has all the skill and talent in the world, now we need him to develop mentally as well. Labs is playing for his hockey future and he knows that he has Ersberg waiting in the wings to take over. Let Labs start and provide some experience in net. It is sad to say but he is no longer our future, so allow him to take the lumps with the young defence and when they and Bernier are ready, let them loose.

  • Anonymous

    I went Ersberg…but also wouldn’t mind Bermier as the backup…

  • brian

    Rich, have you heard anymore on the rule about certain goalies clearing waivers (as was with Labarbera in the past). I know that had to do with the C.B.A. or will that get looked at for the next C.B.A.?

  • Irish Pat

    I think Babs should shoulder most of the load this season while Bernier spends the season in Manchester, but I have to admit it would be great if Bernier flat out wins the job in camp and has a solid rookie season.

    Hey Rich, I got my pre-season issue of The Hockey News in the mail on friday and enjoyed the articles you wrote on the fate of the club this season and the one on Kopitar. Great stuff! I was also surprised that THN picked the Kings to finish 13th in their conference. THN must really like the Kings šŸ˜‰

  • yesitscal

    I’d go with a tandem of LaBarbera and Ersberg to start the season. With a defense that could be porous, it wouldn’t do Bernier’s confidence any good to be facing 40 shots a night. Let him get his feet wet in the AHL first, then maybe see how the team is doing after Christmas.

    Irish Pat, haven’t seen the THN issue you talked about. Who do they have finishing below the Kings???

  • JB

    See I went w/ Bernier just because he already has dealt w/ the dissappointment of last season being sent down. Let him come in and like Marc Andre Fleury go through the growing pains w/ the other kids on the team. Yeah it will be tough for him but it’s going to be tough for all of them and that will hopefully bond them together so that in future years they will be as tight at the Pitt kids. He won’t be challenged in the AHL and at least w/ the big club he’ll be surrounded w/ fellow talented young guys.

  • Chuck

    Labs and Ersberg. Bernier needs to be playing A LOT, so start him in Manchester. If he shows he’s ready for the NHL, bring him up. Knowing LA, one of Labs or Ersberg will get injured, so he’ll be comming up sooner or later, anyway.

  • Irish Pat


    They had Colorado and St. Louis finishing with worse records than the Kings. I believe the Avs are going to nosedive this season, but I was surprised that they picked the Blues to finish last; just because I don’t believe they’ll have the worst record.

    Not to sound like I’m pimping THN on anyone, but I recommend getting a subscription just because your local Borders or Barnes & Noble may not carry it or they might run out before you get a chance to pick it up.

  • Anonymous

    i think that its gonna be Labs as #1 and bernier and ersberg switching as #2…but i hope i’m wrong

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    Bernier won the job last year and there is no doubt he’ll do it again this year.

  • someone

    I think Labs at best is a backup, its Ersberg or Bernier and Labs and then Labs will fade away/ injury/trade. Leaving two quite young goalies.

  • BoltThrower

    What shocks me above all is that people actually voted for Taylor. Really?

  • JDM

    Glad Ersberg is getting a boat load of votes, he deserves a shot. Bernier has the rest of his career with the Kings, Ersberg is kind of now or never. He may not be our most experienced NHL goalie, but I think even with his small sample size he has best proven himself capable of being #1. Give him a shot, if by december he stinks, bring up Bernier.

  • Whaaaaat

    I want to meet the 6 people that voted for Danny Taylor right now.

  • Related

    nice to see that Danny Taylor’s 6 relatives are Inside the Kings readers.

  • wavesinair

    Had to read the blog and comment today even though Im on vacation! The obvious answer to the poll is whoever plays best in camp should, and probably will, start. But reading the comments, there are clearly two main thoughts. 1. Bad defense so let Labs & Berg handle it (dont put Bernie through that punishment.) 2. The team is young, let Bernie take his lumps with all the rest of the guys. I voted the first option, but Im now thinking that option 2 is better. If Im not mistaken, the Monarchs are young too. It could be argued that sending Bernie to defend a sieve-like defense in the AHL might be MORE detrimental and frustrating to him and his development then going through a similar process in the NHL where at least he would be with the big club. Hmmm…

  • john

    I think that LaBarbera has really been working on his issues over the summer break and I think he’s going to come back strong and I’m going to put him as our #1 this year but I’m not leaving Ersberg out of the equation either, I believe they are going to be fighting for a spot all season, which is a good thing because both goalies will have to bring their best to every game…

    leave Bernier in the AHL, bringing him to the NHL would be a huge mistake.

  • David

    I would hope that it would be based upon the best performance during training camp. It’s too bad Marc Crawford didn’t use that same logic before anointing Dan Cloutier as the #1 Goalie two years ago, BEFORE training camp even started!

  • Eric K

    as tempted as i was to vote for Jeff Zatkoff…

    I think Labs and Ersberg platoon for a month, maybe two. let someone earn the job, especially if Labs really has lost weight and become more agile. And watching Bernier get torn apart behind our soft defense last year, I hate the idea of putting him behind a less experienced, less skilled D this year.

    Once we have Doughty, Hickey, and perhaps Teubert and Martinez up (next year?), Bernier will have some familiarity with his (hopefully stronger) defense and is free to take the job and run with it.

  • Marc Nathan

    Personally I find it disappointing there wasn’t a “None Of The Above” option because that would be the answer to the question “Who SHOULD be the Kings starting goalie this season?”

    But alas, it’s not an option, so I will refrain from voting, and hope that they don’t screw Bernier up any more than necessary. This starting defense would make Marty Brodeur look more like Bob Janecyk…

  • anthony

    I’m glad to see Ersberg come up with the most votes.
    After last years performance, he definitely deserves a chance.

    I say

    After a month or two when babs shows poor performance, he’ll be traded and Bernier will be promoted.

  • Daniel

    Off topic but I think we should all follow this story. The fact that there is information that either Craig Leipold or AEG doesn’t want public is a troubling sign. It raises some questions – like, if AEG was duplicitous in trying to basically fund the relocation of one franchise to their very own arena? If so, did it have Bettman’s blessings?

  • Tim

    Babs, this will give a good pick for the 09 draft and with bernnie down winning games in the “A”, it’ll give him the confidence that he need up with the big club!

  • Jesse

    The starting goalie should be the best one in camp, however the best long term option should be Ersberg/Babs. That way, come trade deadline/next years draft we will have a proven goaltender to use as trade bait (being either B or E based on performance) and make way for Bernie and use the other as a back-up. That way this whole season wont be a total waste…

  • simonsez

    Start off with Ersberg/LaBarbara and see how everyone does (including our D). If our D begins to gel and Bernier tears it up in the AHL and Ersberg and/or LaBerbara isn’t playing well, then bring up Bernier.

  • cristobal

    The goalie situation should be Ersberg and Labarbara. If Ersberg looks like the real deal it could even open up the option of trading Bernier in order to really make a run for Tavares AND Hedberg. It will be interesting to see if Ersberg can perform behind this defense. If he does, maybe he’ll be a great one. Bernier holds his own fate in his hands.

    Daniel – I agree. Nice business partner. Also interesting, AEG tried to entice the Penguins to KC with an offer when Lemieux was threatening to move the team.

  • Anonymous

    the real question is how many goalies the kings will use this year. Labs, ersberg, bernier (in that order) will get a chance to start at some point during the season. will the team have to go deeper down the depth chart and how far? and if the kings only use those 3 throughout the whole season, i think we’ll be knocking at the door of the playoffs.

    that’s my optimistic outlook before the season begins.

  • kyle

    So 7 of us have now voted for Zatkoff…my vote was a pat on the back for his good attitude, not that he should start next season.
    Agree w/ txkingsfan and eric k (among others) on JB starting in Manchester.

  • Felix

    It’s really hard to believe. The Kings enter ANOTHER season with a bunch of guys vying for the goalie spot. You’d think part of Dean’s plan would have been to solve the revolving door in goal that’s been here since Hrudey left. Disgusting.

  • Quisp

    Trading Bernier?? Ha ha ha. You’re just trying to get DL fired.

  • yesitscal

    Bernier won’t be traded anytime soon, count on it. The important thing is that the Kings are stable in goal this year with whoever ends up winning the starting job. We can’t afford to have the injuries that have plagued us the last couple of years.

  • Ham Sandwiche

    BERNIER BEHIND THIS DEFENSE? No thanks! Labarbera and Ersberg in 08-09.

  • KingsFan19

    Voted for Ersberg. The team seemed to play with more of a “team defense” mentality and a more protective stance when he was in goal last season. (The team will need to do the same this year, no matter which goalie is in the net!)

    To be honest, Labs didn’t impress me much last season. But to be fair, Labs has reportedly worked very hard this off-season to be 100% ready and healed for this upcoming campaign. He seems motivated to get the job done this season. I hope so.

    Bernier should be in the AHL again to start this season, unless he blows everyone away in training camp.

    It’s gonna come down to who impresses most at training camp. Only time will tell.

  • Mac

    Pretty close, as expected. I think the one who plays with enough energy and seems to be really working hard during the training camp should get the chance as a starting goalie. I voted LaBarbera because I think he deserves it, he had some bad luck last season but I think he will be able to bounce back. Ersberg played great during the end of the season, but I don’t think neither him nor Bernier is quite ready for the starting position.

  • nykingfan

    I disagree that it’s a bad sign that we have so many goalies vying for a spot on the Kings. Quite the opposite..The revolving door is because we have so many talented young goalies in the system. It’s pretty obvious that the Kings will be going with youth in goal in the future. The days of wasting $$ on the Cloutier’s of the world are hopefully a thing of the past. I would expect to see guys like Bernier or Zatkoff being the regular goalies for the Kings for many years to come.
    The biggest difference now is the guys have to earn a spot on the team. If you suck in training camp, there should be enough competition that you’ll have no shot at making the team..unlike in years past.

  • swede

    Ersberg, of course.

    The Kings need to get more Swedes.

    That’s the answer, just look at Detroit.

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