Ah, James Reimer. Optimus Reim. Fans fell in love with his underdog character and infectious smile, and fell out of love with him with about 10 minutes left in the third period on May 13, 2013.
Leafs fans already know which game I’m talking about here, and it still hurts to think about how quickly things went south that fateful night. The image of the Bruins celebrating while poor Reimer lays face-down on the ice after allowing the overtime winner is still burned into my mind and appears in my nightmares.
Unfortunately for Reimer, he never really bounced back from that series as a Leaf. He allowed over three goals per game in each of the next two seasons and was shipped to San Jose during the 2015-2016 season.
Reimer also dealt with his fair share of concussion problems as a Leaf. This ultimately may have played a role in not allowing him to ever reach the potential he showed in 2010-11, when he received a number of votes for the Calder Trophy.
Since leaving Toronto, Reimer has bounced around between San Jose, Florida, and most recently, Carolina. He appeared in two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, allowing two goals in six minutes in a December matchup and being knocked out of the game with (another) concussion in what many will remember as the game that made David Ayres an internet celebrity.
Reimer has yet to start another playoff game since the infamous collapse in 2013. Is he a better Game 7 option than Andersen? Certainly not. Not only does Andersen have a stronger playoff resume, he is by far the better goalie and remains the top choice through two options.