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FlightZone: Jonathan Bernier's Continuing Audition

The goalie now has a couple of years to cement his worth.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed goaltender Jonathan Bernier for two-years at an average of $4.15 million per season. Despite Lou Lamoriello's words to the contrary, one has to think this deal is something of a 'prove-it' contract, which if Bernier does well will lead to a longer-term agreement either with the Leafs or somewhere else. While the Leafs may be rebuilding, there's something to be said for not having a completely miserable team atmosphere because your goaltending is a sieve.

And now the news.

Central Division

While avoiding a slow start is indeed important for the Colorado Avalanche, they may also want to work on not being terrible at large. (The Hockey Writers)

Sports Illustrated goes behind the arena experience curtain to interview Michael Gruber, Music Director for the Dallas Stars. The question I want answered is, will he play Taylor Swift any and every time Patrick Kane is in the building? (SI)

Erik Haula and the Minnesota Wild more-or-less split the difference between them, agreeing to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1 million. Not much to complain about at that salary number. (StarTribune)

Our St. Louis frenemies believe the Blues will win the division, which would matter more if they hadn't done it last season and look how that turned out. They also see Nashville as their biggest threat in the Central, which in my opinion underestimates Chicago's reload-not-rebuild summer. (Bleedin' Blue)

The action never stops at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, where Jets 2015 3rd round pick Erik Foley continues to make a name for himself. While his Team Blue may have fallen to Sweden 5-2, Foley's shorthanded goal managed to bring the Americans within one before the Swedes pulled ahead in the 3rd. (USA Hockey)

And All The Rest

If Nick Ritchie makes the team this season, the Anaheim Ducks may win all their games by simply sitting on opponents. (ProHockeyTalk)

In a hot taek worthy of the AIH Superfans Podcast, Ryan Kennedy believes that Auston Matthews is the real deal. (The Hockey News)

Speaking of Matthews, the kid has a World Junior chip on his shoulder after Team USA finished 5th in last year's tournament. (NHL)

"Judge orders NHL to turn over injury and concussion data" sounds like an intense headline, but I have to think this is rather expected given the nature of the lawsuit. (TSN)

Coming off of his first professional season, there is still plenty of time for Hunter Shinkaruk to fulfill his potential of "a Jeff Skinner type – undersized winger with superior edge control and offensive instincts." His 31 points in 74 games put him in the same range as fellow rookies Anthony Mantha (33 points in 62 games), Taylor Leier (31 points in 73 games) and Winnipeg prospect Scott Kosmachuk (28 points in 70 games). (The Hockey News)

Thanks for reading! Be sure to say in the Comments section below what you think of the Jonathan Bernier contract.