Saturday, August 16, 2008

Goalie-Go-Round


Erik Ersberg, Jason LaBarbera, Dan Cloutier, Mathieu Garon, Barry Brust, Yutaka Fukufuji, Sean Burke, Jon Quick, Daniel Taylor, Jonathan Bernier, and Jean-Sebastien Aubin have all seen playing time the last 2 seasons for the Los Angeles Kings. Will the goalie-go-round finally end in L.A.?

Antonio Jason LaBarbera sure hopes so. Management feels he has paid his dues so it is his job to lose as the starter in Los Angeles. Erik Ersberg proved himself reliable for a short period at the end of last season. Barring a trade, he will more than likely be slotted as the back-up in Los Angeles. Fans are going to want to see more of Ersberg, but young netminders who come in from over seas have a tendency to start well. Once they get figured out by NHL snipers, a nice career back home is usually the result.

This is where everything gets a bit murky. Bernier and Zatkoff have NHL futures in front of them. Jon Quick has moved himself up the ladder with very steady development. The key for Bernier is just playing. He won't be the back-up in L.A. because I'm sure Dean Lombardi wants him to play as much as possible this season as a pro. A busy 50-game load in Manchester should be expected.

Jeff Zatkoff left the collegiate ranks a year early to turn pro. He will battle with Jon Quick for a spot in the AHL. He may be better off shouldering the load in Ontario of the ECHL for a season, then heading to Manchester for a year after Bernier graduates to the NHL ranks. Quick has already been a success at this level so I think sending him back isn't going to do him any favors developmentally. With ECHL affiliate moving from Pennsylvania to California, the Kings will always have someone local to call up in case of emergency.

Kings fans are ready to bring in the Bernier era. An injury to LaBarbera, or another early exit from the playoff race are the only ways I can find where we can see him for a long period of time in the upcoming season. Whether Bernier is on L.A. or Manchester, he is going to see the lion's share of the starts.

The Goalie-Go-Round is coming to a halt, and the quality of goaltending in Los Angeles can only benefit from it.

1 comment:

MJ Kasprzak said...

Solid inside information, or more inside than those of us who are not following the Kings would know.
Personally, though, if I'm a scorer in this division, I'm licking my chops for the Kings--I think none of these guys is as good as the back-up in either San Jose and Anaheim. Bernier has the qualifications of a great future goalie, but is at least two years away, wouldn't you agree?