Pick the backup goalie

I was a bit surprised to see Ersberg come out the winner of yesterday’s poll. I figured that Bernier would be the exciting choice and LaBarbera would be the safe choice, but it seems that many of you were highly impressed by Ersberg’s trial run near the end of last season. Fact is, no matter how you look at it, the Kings don’t have a goalie who has proved, without doubt, that he can handle being a No. 1. So, given that, how would you handle the backup role? Go with the (somewhat more) veteran LaBarbera, or give experience to one of the prospects?


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  • Tompa

    Having Bernier sitting on the bench wouldn’t do much for his development. LaBarbera is good enough for now.

  • Quisp

    Whether DL thinks Bernier will play for the Kings this year or next year, I think he has to be thinking of trading LaBarbera, at whatever point his stock is the highest. That time is not now, but it may be as soon as Christmas; if LaBarbera puts together a string of good games — and if the defense has proved itself to be more dependable, which it would have to if LaBarbera is going to get any wins — I would expect him to be dealt. It makes sense to show a certain amount of patience this year regarding when Bernier arrives with the big club, but beyond a certain point, it just gets silly.

    I have to think, really, in the back of DL’s mind if not actually in the front of it, that his plan is to go denfensive this year (thus the hiring of Terry Murray and Mark Hardy), and bring in Bernier sooner rather than later.

  • ReggieMoto

    I still say Labarbera is the primary backstopper for the team and Ersberg is the secondary. Given that Ersberg was removed from the list, I have to pick Labarbera.

    I think Bernier spends a significant portion of the season in Manchester, getting the lion’s share of the work.

    However, and I think most agree with this, so much depends on who performs well in camp. Having said that, I believe that in the end Labarbera and Ersberg will shoulder an equal share of game time. Murray will ride the hot goalie until he cools off and they will both get hot and go cold. Injuries will play an important part of who is in when and who is not.

    I think the team will do well with a Laberbera/Ersberg tandem, with Bernier waiting for a call-up whenever.

  • anthony

    Ersberg as #1 and Babs as back-up seems to be the safe bet.
    Lets not forget that Ersberg is 26 and played professional hockey in Europe.
    Bernier is only 20 and a season in a pro league at Manchester can only help him prepare for the NHL.
    He’ll be promoted soon enough when Babs is traded for doing what he does best – give up a sh_t load of rebounds.
    I expect to see Ersberg & Bernier finish the season.

  • gralx

    If Ersberg is starting and Berier is not. Then LaBabs needs to be the back up. Berier would get a lot more out of playing down in Manchester than sitting in LA.

  • Gonzo

    Give Taylor a chance!!!

  • Irish Pat

    Babs for back-up duty.

    Bernier needs to go into either L.A. or Manchester as the starter, not a back-up. If they make him a back-up, he’ll think like one and play like one. It’s good to develop the kids slowly, but if you treat them like babies they’ll play like babies.

  • yesitscal

    As I said before, you’re going to have to find a team who wants Labarbera, and if we all here think that he’s not the answer in L.A. I doubt there would be too many teams lining up to acquire him, and if they do the Kings certainly aren’t going to be getting more than maybe a 5th-round pick for him at best. Even so, he ought to be the backup to Ersberg this season because it would be more beneficial to put Bernier into a situation where he has a better chance to succeed and, if he doesn’ at first, it wouldn’t be the end of the world or effect the Kings directly. The pro game is quite a bit different from juniors and almost everyone has to get their feet wet in the minors before they make the big club to stay.

  • Anze

    Jason is a quality NHL backup. He’s not a starter. Here’s hoping Ersberg can take it until Bernier matures.

  • simonsez

    I hope you’re right Quisp. LaBabarbara is mediocre, and if Ersberg & Bernier are solid & our D isn’t horrible then there’s no place for him. Then if Ersberg or Bernier get injured we still have 3 prospects to choose from to bring up as a backup.

  • naturallawyer

    I don’t see how the Kings will get anything of value in trading LaBarbera. Even Bryzgalov couldn’t be unloaded for value, but had to be waived (on the other hand, Aubin somehow fetched us a 7th rounder). I wouldn’t count on a trade of JL. Waiver is more likely, if it comes to that.

  • ryan oliver

    It will either be Ersberg or LaBarbera as back-up. No way Bernier ornother kid sis on the bench. If Bernier winds up winning the starting job, expect Ersberg to go to the minors, because of his 2 way contract.

  • Rocky

    Platoon EE and Barbs then at the deadline trade the best of the two. Then bring up Bernier for his cup of Joe. That way Bernier keeps his rookie status for a run at the calder next year :)

  • Quisp

    natural lawyer:

    depends on what you mean by “anything of value.” DL likes his picks, as we all know.

    I think there’s a very real possibility that Labarbera will be the third best goalie in camp. My question is, if Bernier and Ersberg are BY FAR the best in camp, can the Kings really afford to send Bernier down because, although HE might be ready, the TEAM — like last year’s team — is not? I think it’s likely that Bernier will, like last year, MAKE them give him a shot with his stellar play in preseason. Then, it will be the Kings defense that will have a second chance, not to fold in front of Bernier like they did in ’07. Of course, the “they” in that sentence is a completely different “they.”

  • Datacloud

    I agree with those who say Bernier needs a full season as the starter in Manchester. He doesn’t have the luxury Price had of a well-rounded, strong team iced in front of him in Montreal.

  • Quisp

    If Bernier is the best goalie in camp, I think Terry Murray will say, I’m not Mark Crawford, my system is not Mark Crawford’s system, I think these players can be defensively responsible and if you give me the defensive tools I need (presuming that DL has and/or will provide the missing piece(s) the defense needs), then let’s go with the best goalie we have. You can’t demote a player who proves himself two years running on the grounds that you aren’t good enough yet but maybe next year.

  • Marc Nathan

    remember all those “1A/1B” stories about the Kings goalies (Garon, LaBarbera, etc.)…

    it’s nice to know the Kings are most probably going to go with 2A/2B…

  • Datacloud

    Good point, Quisp. Under a different system which emphasizes defense, even with the personnel we have currently it’s totally conceivable that we would improve in GAA, no matter who is in net.

  • Anonymous

    Remember that Ersberg played towards the end of the season. At this time his opponents had begun resting players or what not. I would go as far as to say that the defense had improved greatly, he did not see as many glaring mistakes in front of him as did LaBarbara. How good would LaBarbara be with a better defense?

  • Crash Davis

    The Kings are in a marginally better situation THIS season than last (other than the still extremely pesky dilemma of not knowing who is #1). As long as the injury bug doesn’t bite – like the past 2 seasons – they have 3 good goalies available, 2 of which (Ersberg on a 2 way contract and Bernie as a rookie) can go back and forth to Manchester without being exposed to waivers. Only LaBarbara is on a 1 way contract, and has nothing to prove in the AHL. He also hasn’t proven to be a #1 NHL goalie. What the Kings need is a GREAT goalie. Who will that be?

    The other question – other than who will be #1 – is depth. The Kings have blown through like 11 goalies in 2 years. Even Mathieu Garon is looking pretty good as a backup for Edmonton now. If you’re DL or TM, do you go out and find a bridge goalie until Bernier is ready? Probably not. Because having a solid defense in front of that goalie is crucial. Not even a resurrected Patrick Roy could walk on water (ice?) with the D the Kings have on paper at moment. 1 or 2 stud defensemen are still needed. Maybe that’ll come from a trade, a rookie or both. The goalie upside – if there is one – is that Zatkoff, Quick and Taylor are in the system. That’s good. The pond is getting stocked. That’ll work itself out eventually.

    So, no need for a bridge goalie unless something just seems so right…instead, you fix your D (which DL has drafted like crazy) while also allowing JL, EE and Bernier to fight it out. And pray for the best. (While surprising a few teams when you can.)

  • typicaljs

    Bernier is a #1 goalie and will have that role, either in the AHL or NHL.

    Labarbera will either win the starting job for the king or back up whoever wins the starting job.

    Ersberg either takes the #1, plays backup to labarbera, or goes down to manchester if Bernier wins the #1 and competes for ice time in manchester.

    fun stuff.

  • Crash Davis

    Anonymous, I don’t think your argument that Ersberg saw softer, resting teams near the end of the season hold’s up. He would have also faced plenty of teams who were fighting for playoff spots or who were trying to move up to better slots in the standings. Except for those exceptions of teams completely out of the race with a few weeks left in their seasons, as a goalie he would have faced just as fierce competition on any given night as Labarbara. If we’re being fair here.

  • Some fan

    I echoe previous sentiments that Bernier will definitely be the best goalie in camp yet where he plays will be determined by how awful the team in front of him is.

    The question is who will be in Manchester and how awful will they be?

  • David

    Wow, Jonathan Bernier must be the second coming of Patrick Roy if I’m to believe most of these comments! Let’s see how he does in Training Camp.

    Many of you have short term memory losses regarding our goaltending situation. It was just two years ago following a rash of goalie injuries that the Kings were forced into playing a Japanese Goalie, who clearly wasn’t ready for the NHL. They had to then go out and get Sean Burke.

    Why would the Kings want to trade Jason LaBarbera? He’s a capable goalie and if he remains injury free this year, may surprise many of you.

  • yesitscal

    Crash, Mathieu Garon is now the number one goaltender for the Oil, as he assumed that position midway through last season. I wish him well and believe the Kings never should have let him go.

  • Quisp

    Why would the Kings want to trade Jason Labarbera? Because when Bernier is ready there’s no need for him.

  • http://Ethman Anonymous

    While I agree it would be nice to trade Labs for someone useful I don’t think it makes much sense for the Kings to do that unless Bernier makes the club (which I doubt will happen this year). If Labs gets traded away and Ersberg becomes the #1, who backs him up??? I doesn’t make any sense. Then the team winds up in the same f$#@ed up position it has been in the last few years.

    I think DL has decided to be patient in this area for good reason. Rather than not have enough NHL-caliber goalies, the team now has two (hopefully). Keep them both around so we don’t have to call up prospects from japan that aren’t ready for NHL action.

    I think we will see improvement from Labs this year. He’s on the last year of his contract, right? If he doesn’t put it together this year then he may never get much of a chance again. And if Ersberg continues to do his thing we’ll be in pretty good shape in goal. Let Bernier join the team when there’s a good team to put in front of him.

  • KingFan4ever

    I don’t really care who starts and who backs up anymore. All I’m happy about is the name CLOUTIER is not on these lists…..

    Actually I do care. Ersberg #1, LaBabs – Backup.

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