James Reimer re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs last week, with the formal announcement coming on Monday, July 28. Not only did Reimer re-sign for two more years, at a cap friendly $4.6-million, he also said all the right things about the team, his role and his coach, Randy Carlyle.
But does anyone actually believe any of this?
Reimer has always seen himself as a starter in the NHL. Are we really supposed to believe that he suddenly has had a change of heart and will be happy to ride the pine behind the Leafs’ incumbent starter Jonathan Bernier? Not likely.
And what about Carlyle? Suddenly all the issues they had last year were really not a big deal and all is good? On Monday, Reimer told Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio, “Sometimes you don’t see eye-to-eye. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s a great coach. He’s won a Cup. I have no qualms at all about playing for him again.”
I’m not buying it – not at all.
I really believe Reimer will be moved. Not right away, but very likely by Christmas. He signed a team-friendly, movable contract that will make him desirable to many teams when the need for a goaltender arises. In my eyes, that actually makes this a smart signing by the Leafs.
Right now, teams aren’t looking for starters. They are looking for backups and depth. However, come training camp and the early part of the 2014-2015 season, injuries or poor performances will undoubtedly lead some teams to start looking for help in goal. That is when I think the Leafs will make their move.
Of course, don’t forget that it could be Bernier getting hurt – or performing poorly – making Reimer a solid option right here in Toronto.
It would be pure speculation to suggest what the Leafs might get for Reimer in a future trade. Their needs will obviously be driven by performance and injuries on their own roster. More importantly though, they will need to find a partner with a goaltending need.
In the meantime, Reimer will go into training camp this fall as the backup for the Leafs, working to scratch as much time away from Bernier as he can.
As for his relationship with head coach Randy Carlyle, I can’t imagine they will be spending any quality time on the golf course this summer. But Reimer is a good professional and he understands that he needs to please the man who controls his playing time. At least for now.