Is James Reimer all but done in Toronto?

Exactly one year ago, James Reimer was a god in Toronto. He was in the middle of a stellar season, one that would see him lead is Toronto Maple Leaf team to the playoffs for the first time in a LONG ASS TIME. Fast forward to today, and it seems all but certain that following the 2013-2014 NHL season, James Reimer will no longer be a Toronto Maple Leaf.

The fallout of Reimer really began from the day the Buds acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles. Reimer, coming off an impressive season, felt he was ready to be the undecided Number 1. Dave Nonis on the other hand, thought competition was needed and jumped on the opportunity to acquire a potential Number 1.

Bernier has proven himself as a legitimate Number 1 goalie so far this season. He’s started 44 games, going 25-16-7, posting an impressive 2.61 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Reimer on the other hand, has started 29 games going 11-10-1, with a 3.21 GAA and a .913 save percentage. The debate can be made  that Reimer’s record is reflective on the amount of action he has seen; often coming in without seeing game action in a week.

reimer 2

Regardless of your position, all signs point to Reimer being traded in the offseason. Last nights loss to Detroit didn’t help the situation, when Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle called Reimer’s performance “okay”. Following the game, James Reimer’s agent jumped on Twitter to stir the pot.
“@RayPetkau: As is customary in Toronto, when your team plays poor defensively game after game you blame your goalie.”

Ouch. That’s not going to help Reimer’s case of being a “good guy” in the room. As Craig Button mentioned last night on TH2N, he felt that as a GM, you must take what the player’s agent says as if it is coming out of the players mouth. Reimer has made it clear he thinks he’s a number 1, and has been publicly sour about the whole situation (compared to last years happy-go-lucky James Reimer).

Let’s get down to the thick of things. James Reimer is a pretty damn good goalie. He’s shown last year he’s capable of leading a team. This years stats can somewhat be thrown out the window because the Leafs have been SO BAD defensively. However, the public perception of the Leafs goaltending has changed, LeafsNation is spilt. Some love Bernier and hate Reimer, some still love Reimer and hate Bernier, and others are in the middle. Wherever you stand, based on the way Carlyle has rotated his goalies this year (or not), it’s become evident Jonathan Bernier is the Maple Leaf goalie of the future.

So where do we go from here? Reimer is set to become an RFA in the summer, meaning the Leafs still own his rights. An offer sheet isn’t coming, and its unlikely the Leafs will want to give Reimer a raise to return as the backup. The most likely scenario is a trade. As we saw at the deadline, the goalie market seems to be lively. In past years, it has always been difficult to move a goaltender. But with the cap rising and some teams in need of help, all signs point to James Reimer being traded.

I think the most comparable trade scenario for this type of deal would be when the Ottawa Senators shipped goalie Ben Bishop to the Tamp Bay Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher and a 4th round pick. While Conacher did not pan out in Ottawa, at the time he was traded he was having a terrific rookie season. He finished 6th in Calder voting (Rookie of the Year), so he wasn’t just some no name prospect. He was a capable NHLer. Here are some predictions on where James Reimer could go and for what price.

To New York Islanders:reimer 3
James Reimer

To Toronto Maple Leafs:
Anders Lee
Conditional 3rd round pick


To Calgary Flames:
James Reimer

To Toronto Maple Leafs:
Sven Baertschi


To Winnipeg Jets:
James Reimer

To Toronto Maple Leafs:
J.C Lipon
2nd round pick


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