According to Elliotte Friedman at Sportsnet, Jonathan Bernier has signed a 2 year contract with the Leafs.
Bernier and TOR settle: $4.15M in each of the next two years for the goalie— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 2, 2015
The Maple Leafs elected arbitration to determine the next contract for the restricted free agent, and a formal hearing was held on Friday morning. If the Leafs and Bernier had not reached this deal the arbitrator would have submitted his ruling today, and it would be final and binding. Per the CBA rules, the arbitrator would also have set the term at just one year, and Bernier would become an unrestricted free agent immediately after this season. Because of this settlement, we will never know what salary the arbitrator was going to award.
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports that $4M of Bernier's salary will be paid out as upfront signing bonuses; $2M immediately, and $2M on July 1 next year.
Bernier's new deal includes a $2-million signing bonus each year. $8.3-million total salary.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 2, 2015
This arrangement can be significant when it comes to trades. Low revenue teams often seek out contracts via trade where a team has already paid out much of the actual salary dollars via a signing bonus, leaving them with a lower actual payroll.
Bernier was traded to the Leafs at the end of the 2012-13 season in exchange for: The Leafs' second round pick in the draft, goalie Ben Scrivens, and Matt Frattin (who is now back with The Leafs after a stint in L.A. and Columbus).
Bernier was on the Kings' roster during their Stanley Cup winning 2011-12 season, but he was buried under all-star goalie Jonathan Quick. He made only 25 starts and did not play a single game during the playoffs.
In 2013-14 Bernier started 55 games for the Leafs, picking up a 0.922 sv%. In 2014-15 he faltered and earned a 0.912 sv% in 58 starts.
Since his arrival Bernier's status as management's perceived 'number one' goaltender has generated controversy, with much hyperbole in the media about tension with The Leafs' former 'number one' goalie James Reimer. Some have claimed this tension is a media fabrication, and that the two goalies are actually much more than friends.
Bernier turns 27 on August 7.