After a disappointing, injury-riddled campaign and an offseason filled with rumors, James Reimer is focusing on just one thing:
Being Toronto’s No. 1 goalie next year.
That’s what the 24-year-old told TSN on Thursday, saying he wants to get back to his form of two seasons ago. That was when he appeared in a career-high 37 games, posted a 20-10-5 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.60 GAA — and became Toronto’s starting goalie.
“That’s the goal,” Reimer said. “That’s the goal ever since you’re three years old, whether you had a great year or a tough year is to go in there and prove that you’re the starter.”
The problem, of course, is some are skeptical that Reimer can be the starter. His 2011-12 season ended with sub-par numbers — 14-14-4, .900 save percentage, 3.10 GAA — and an admission from Leafs GM Brian Burke that he was looking to upgrade the goaltending position (hence the Roberto Luongo rumors.)
Burke later cooled on the need to upgrade in goal, but didn’t exactly offer Reimer an endorsement in the process. He stated he’s “prepared to go forward” with Reimer and Ben Scrivens, who spent last year with the AHL Marlies. It was more a backing of the tandem rather than Reimer as the No. 1 — but that’s hardly prevented Reimer from saying he’s out to prove he’s the starter.
“That’s what I wanted to do last year and that’s what I want to do again this year coming into camp,” he said. “I want to come in and show that I can be the starter and that they need to look nowhere else.”