PHILADELPHIA — Dave Bolland wants to stay in Toronto and play for the Maple Leafs. We knew that already.
We also already knew that the Maple Leafs want to keep Bolland, because he’s “the type of player (they) need.”
So why haven’t the two sides come to an agreement on a new contract for the pending unrestricted free agent center?
“It’s not that we’re not speaking to each other,” Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said Thursday afternoon. “It’s at this point we haven’t been able to find common ground for a deal. … There’s a number and term that we believe is fair, and [Bolland and his agent, Anton Thun] have a different number and different term.
“We still have time to get something done. Whether that happens or not — last year, we were in a similar situation with Tyler Bozak and he ended up signing — whether we get to that or not remains to be seen.”
And if it doesn’t happen? Does Nonis expect to have certainty on the Bolland situation by July 1, so he can go to Plan B as soon as the league-wide bidding frenzy begins?
“Your only Plan B is going to be the players you have under contract,” said Nonis. “Because you don’t know who else you can sign. … The only certainty is the players that are our own.”
Nonis also spoke briefly today about goalie James Reimer, who many expect to be traded before the start of next season.
“[A trade] is a possibility,” admitted Nonis. “The other possibility is to come here and try to start here. … I wouldn’t rule out him coming back.”
Related: Bolland, Leafs remain apart in negotiations: agent
Depending upon how you view James Reimer’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators probably seemed fitting.
Those who defend him – like, say, his agent – would probably nod their heads wistfully at his stats on the day: 36 saves, one goal allowed and another mark in the “L” column.
As a restricted free agent, the Maple Leafs have a considerable amount of control over the 26-year-old netminder’s future. Even so, Reimer told reporters including TSN’s Jonas Siegel that he couldn’t help but shake the emotional feeling that tonight might represent his final moment in a Maple Leafs uniform.
With some new faces in the organization, there might be an extra drive to remove Reimer … or maybe a chance for the still fairly new netminder to receive a clean slate. If nothing else, Reimer admits that the thought of playing somewhere else crossed his mind on Saturday.
Update: Here is video of the full (emotional) interview:
Is James Reimer going to ask the Maple Leafs to move him this summer?
Well, he’s not ready to say yet. But he did appreciate why reporters would ask.
“Let’s wait a couple of days before we talk about [the possibility of asking for a trade],” Remier said on Wednesday, per TSN. “Obviously, it’s a fair question.”
To say it’s been a tough year for Reimer would be a big understatement. After backstopping Toronto to its first playoff appearance in seven years last season, Reimer watched as the Leafs went out and acquired Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles, then watched as the one-time goalie timeshare quickly turned into Bernier as the No. 1, and Reimer as the No. 2.
But that was just the start of things.
Toronto’s late-season collapse coincided with Bernier getting hurt and Reimer coming on in relief, which led to Randy Carlyle’s now-infamous “he was okay, you know, just okay,” remark following a 3-2 loss to Detroit, a comment that seemed to sting Reimer.
Looking ahead, though, one has to think Reimer would be a considerable target for teams looking to upgrade their goaltending this summer. A pending RFA, he’s in the last of a three-year, $5.4 million deal and is only 26 years old, posting really strong save percentages during both last regular season (.924) and opening-round playoff loss to Boston (.923).
He also got off to a tremendous start this year, going 5-0-0 in October with a .949 save percentage and one shutout.
Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier is out three weeks with an MCL strain, leaving the netminding duties to James Reimer for the final four games of the Maple Leafs’ regular season.
Bernier was hurt last night versus Boston. Reimer came in to replace him, stopping 10 of 11 shots in a 4-3 overtime victory.
Even though the Leafs’ playoff hopes remain slim after beating the Bruins, Reimer has much to prove. His .896 save percentage in March, much of it compiled while Bernier was out recovering from a groin injury, made him one of the defining faces of Toronto’s epic eight-game losing streak.
There has been speculation that Reimer — a pending restricted free agent — will request a trade this summer. The 26-year-old is 12-13-1 with a .908 save percentage on the season.
Toronto hosts Winnipeg Saturday before finishing its schedule with three games on the road against Tampa Bay, Florida, and Ottawa.
It remains to be seen if James Reimer will lose his fifth game in a row on Sunday – the Toronto Maple Leafs could very well make a game of it against the New Jersey Devils – but his tough times continue either way.
The Devils scored three goals on 10 shots against Reimer tonight, chasing him a little less than two minutes into the second period.
It’s not just the last five games that have been difficult for the 26-year-old, either. Things have been rough for him since Jan. 23, as these game logs show. In short, he’s only won once in that span with six regulation losses and two non-decisions.
Some believe Reimer has been thrown under the bus while a team craters in front of him – just ask his agent – but performances like tonight’s will lead people to blame the young netminder. Especially if the Maple Leafs slide all the way out of the playoffs.