The NHL Season is quickly approaching, with that in mind we’re going to take a look at who is (likely) to be on the Leafs roster come October 1 in Montreal. Contract numbers via CapGeek.com; Regular Stats via Hockey-reference.com; Nerd stats via behindthenet.ca. For the rest of our Player Previews go here.
James Reimer, No. 34, goaltender| 6’2″, 208 LBS | 5-years old.
ToT Approved Nicknames:
3 NHL seasons, all with Toronto, 104 career games
$1.8-million; RFA following this season
104 GP 2.71 GAA .915 SV%
33 GP 2.46 GAA .924 SV%
You Oughta Know:
James Reimer actually might have a personality, two years ago after his doppelgänger starred in a Tim Horton‘s commercial, Reimer dressed up as his Timmies Double for Halloween
Reimer has had an up and down first three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his début season with the team, Reimer seized the Leafs starting job by posting a 2.60 GAA and .921 SV%. After his first season, many Leafs fans even dared hope that they had an actual starting goaltender that could be relied upon.
Reimer entered his sophomore season full of hope, and he was able to get off to a decent start before Brian Gionta happened. Gionta drove hard to the net, colliding with Reimer, injuring the Leafs netminder in the process.
Reimer was never able to recover from the concussion he suffered, posting a 3.10 GAA and just a .900 SV%. Following his sophomore struggles, the Leafs were left to decide whether Reimer’s struggles were related to the concussion he sustained at the hands of the filthy Habs, or was a regression to his true talent level after a rookie season of playing above his head.
The Leafs once again handed Reimer the reins for last season’s lockout shortened season, and he delivered to the tune of a 2.46 GAA and .921 SV%, proving to the world (or pretty much everyone that isn’t in the Leafs front office) that he is a legitimate NHL goaltender.
Reimer’s play was the largest reason for the Maple Leafs return to the playoffs, and Dave Nonis & Co. rewarded him by trading for an unexperienced Jonathan Bernier, and handing him a contract valued at 1.6x more than his own.
Thanks for all the hard work Reims!
What to Expect:
While it seemed that Reimer had proven that he was a goaltender capable of shouldering the workload for an NHL franchise, it appears as if he will not get that opportunity this season. The acquisition of Bernier all but assures that there will be a timeshare in the Maple Leafs crease this season.
I expect that the starts will be doled out in a 50/50 fashion (which could vary depending on effectiveness/health), therefore you can pencil in Reimer for between 35 and 45 starts. I can’t help but think that Reimer will be playing with a chip on his shoulder with the apparent vote of non-confidence that was the Bernier acquisition, which could actually be a good thing for the Leafs.
However many starts he gets, Reimer will be something like the goaltender we saw in his first season/last season. With an improved team in front of him, his statistics may even artificially improve. On the other hand, this Leafs team may be improved, but they were so lucky last season that a regression to the mean could negate actual roster improvements.
Reimer will be a steadying influence in the crease, albeit one that for some reason makes you a little too nervous on occasion (he loses the puck a little too often for my comfort). He will put up a decent SV% somewhere around the .920 mark, and will continue to be the goalie that Toronto needs, but not the one that it deserves.