The Detroit Red Wings avoided another terrible year because of one man: Jonathan Bernier. Sure, he was hurt at points. Yes, Thomas Greiss really put it together in April and created a hell of a goalie tandem for Detroit.
But without Bernier, the Wings don’t win nearly as many games as they did. Not only was he the Red Wings most consistent performer, he was their best player, too.
Save Percentage: .914
Quality Start Percentage: .652
GAR (via Evolving-Hockey): 7.9
WAR (via Evolving-Hockey): 1.4
1A goalie in a tandem with 1B Greiss
2021 Season in a Nutshell
Bernier was better than last season, and was constantly in trade rumors until the deadline passed. Though he fought through some injuries (including one caused by Anthony Mantha careening into the net), Bernier was rock solid for the Red Wings all season long.
Bernier would get the goal support Greiss wouldn’t (that would change), and his game log is littered with stupid outcomes after a tremendous individual effort. The April 24th loss to Dallas comes immediately to mind, where Bernier made 50 saves only to lose in overtime 2-1. Seriously, only Red Wings hockey features a goalie making 50 saves and still losing–in overtime.
They said it
“He (Bernier) has been such an important player for us, our best player the past couple seasons. He means a lot to us.” Captain Dylan Larkin via the Detroit News
If the captain of the team says it, it’s gospel. Jonathan Bernier was the Red Wings most important player of the season, as well. as last season. An unrestricted free agent due for a raise, Bernier has shown he can be the backbone of the team that struggles to score goals and has an average defense in front of him. As Yzerman fills the roster with more talented players, Bernier’s performance would benefit greatly. There’s no question that Bernier is not only the MVP of the team, but very deserving of an A for his efforts.