Toronto Maple Leafs Call Up Antoine Bibeau, James Reimer Injured


It looked like James Reimer was going to reclaim his starting job after returning this week, but instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to lean on their young goalies.

Just when the Toronto Maple Leafs thought that James Reimer was prepared to reclaim the goaltending duties, the team announced that Reimer is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

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With the team on the road to St. Louis, the Leafs needed to make a call to the AHL. However, with Jonathan Bernier on a conditioning stint and starting his first game with the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs had to call Antoine Bibeau to come and back up Garret Sparks.

Sparks shutout the Edmonton Oilers in his first NHL game but could not bail the Leafs out against the Winnipeg Jets after a poor defensive effort in the third period.

Reimer made 27 saves on 28 shots in a losing effort against the Minnesota Wild but there were moments in the game where he did not look entirely comfortable and possibly re-injured his left leg.

Following a few scrambles in front of the Leafs net, Reimer appeared to have a hard time pushing off his left and looked sore. When asked after the game Reimer insisted his leg was fine.

This means that Sparks will start against the St. Louis Blues who sit second in the Western Conference behind the Dallas Stars.

Dec 2, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Garret Sparks (31) makes a save during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

It will be a tough test for Sparks with St. Louis getting their best weapon back with Vladimir Tarasenko coming back on Friday night from an illness. Hopefully the Leafs can play with a similar effort to what they had against the Wild because if they play as careless as they did against the Jets then expect the Blues to take advantage.

Another interesting plot twist is the fact that the Marlies had to find a goalie to back up Bernier in Rochester and they took the most unusual route. It was announced that Dave Ayres, a building operations manager for Ryerson University at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens), would be the Marlies backup.

The unfortunate part was that the Marlies had returned goalie Ryan Massa back to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL when Bernier was sent down for his conditioning stint. Massa won his only start in the AHL for the Marlies when Sparks got called up to be Reimer’s back up.

Nov 17, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer (34) celebrates with goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

What does this mean long-term for the Leafs goaltending situation?

Well Sparks will likely start the Leafs next two games against the Blues on December 5th then on the 8th when the Leafs host the New Jersey Devils.

If Reimer is not 100 percent healed from his leg injury, there is no reason to rush him back because after their game against the Devils the Leafs do not play again until December 15th at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The other option could be to have Bernier come back to start when his conditioning stint is over. The Leafs have a tough schedule in December with games against top teams like the Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and the New York Islanders twice.

Next: A Look At What the Maple Leafs' Prospects Were Up to in November

It would not be easy to have Sparks start a lot of those games, so hopefully Reimer or Bernier can return to action by then.

In other Leafs news, prospect Travis Dermott was recognized by the OHL for a strong month of November.