Shortly after James Reimer was dealt from Toronto to San Jose, Sportsnet reported part of the reason the pending UFA goalie was shipped out was because of his asking price — $6 million annually over six years, a whopping $36M total.
Now, Reimer is trying to set the record straight.
“I don’t even want to dignify it with a response,” Reimer said of the report, per the Calgary Sun. “That was definitely untrue.”
Reimer, 27, is in the last of a two-year, $4.6 million deal with a $2.3M average annual cap hit, so the $6M would represent a fairly massive raise.
Not that he doesn’t deserve some kind of pay bump.
Reimer was solid this year playing behind a weak Leafs team, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.49 GAA, snatching the No. 1 gig away from Jonthan Bernier in the process.
And now — barring some major development in San Jose — Reimer will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
It promises to be an interesting bit of negotiating.
Reimer is near the top — or, depending on how you feel about him, at the top — of a UFA goalie list that projects to feature the likes of Cam Ward, Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo. Career backups like Anton Khudobin, Alex Stalock, Chad Johnson, Jhonas Enroth, Al Montoya, Antti Raanta, Carter Hutton and Jonas Gustavsson are also available, but Reimer could be a legit No. 1 option for a few clubs.
The question, of course, is how much teams are willing to pay a potential starting goalie in free agency?
Last summer, Ramo scored a one-year, $3.8M deal with Calgary — one of the teams rumored to be interested in Reimer — while Dallas sort-of inked Antti Niemi to a three-year, $13.5M pact (the Stars technically acquired Niemi’s negotiating rights prior to signing him).
Given the limited number of starting gigs available and cap uncertainty, it’s tough to see Reimer cashing in come July 1.