Leafs' Nonis discusses Bernier, Bozak, summer strategy Staff

6/25/2013 10:34:56 PM

With a brand new goalie on board and the NHL Draft just days away, it's a busy time of year for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis.

Speaking to Dave Naylor on TSN Drive on TSN Radio 1050 on Tuesday afternoon, Nonis reflected on how goalie Jonathan Bernier will fit into the Leafs' plans going forward.

"From our standpoint, it was the excitement about bringing in another top young goaltender into the organization and have Jonathan and James (Reimer) together," explained Nonis. "I think it gives us probably, in my opinion, one of the top two punches of potential in the National Hockey League."

Nonis was asked if he believed that a possible battle for playing time between Bernier and Reimer could cause some tension for the club.

"Well I think that's always a risk at any position. It's a situation where we feel we have two guys with great potential and great character and there's no reason why they can't both compete hard for that job and push as hard as they can to keep control of the net," said Nonis.

So how did Reimer take the news that Bernier was joining the club?

"(He was) professional. I think he was a little bit...I wouldn't say shocked but surprised that we brought a similar player in. I think he was thinking we would have more of an established older guy join him.

"(But) if you look at the goaltenders that are available right now there wasn't a good fit for us. James understands that. He doesn't expect to come in here and have anything given to him. He wants to come in here and keep the net himself and that's what we expect out of him."

While Nonis admits that no player in untouchable, he says the club has no plans to move Reimer at this point.

"When we (made this trade), the thinking was you would have both (Bernier and Reimer) here at training camp and battling it out for the opening night starting position.

Nonis and Naylor also discussed other parts of the team that the general manager would like to improve upon.

"Down the middle is what championship teams are built with and watching the final four teams and the final two gives you a pretty good example of what you need to follow," explained Nonis. "If we can strengthen our centre position and continue to add some guys on the back end we would do it.

"Really, that hasn't changed (for us), and most other teams are looking at the same things, so those are the hardest positions to find.

Nonis discussed the changing dynamic of making moves in the first off-season of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"There are more people now than usual that are looking to do a deal, but because the (salary) cap is going down it's more difficult to complete one. There are going to be a lot of options, but most teams have limited cap space. It will be a moving target between now and the start of free agency."

Nonis also addressed the club's wish to attempt to keep potential unrestricted free agent Tyler Bozak.

"It's a function of making (Bozak) fit within a falling cap, and we have a little bit of time left to do that. We're going to see if we can get him signed by July 5th, but if we can't we're going to have to re-allocate those dollars and try to find another solution," said Nonis.