Patrik Elias, James Reimer

With J.S. Giguere out, the Leafs turn to unlikely goalie duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens

With word that J.S. Giguere’s injury will keep him out about seven to 10 days, the Toronto Maple Leafs will turn to a very green goalie duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens for their game against the Ottawa Senators tonight.

Chris Johnston writes that they make an unlikely duo, as Reimer was once third on the Leafs’ depth chart while Scrivens came in at fifth.

The two became fast friends during the Maple Leafs’ training camp according to Johnston, but never expecting to be the two netminders dressing for a regular season NHL game. At least during the 2010-11 season, that is.

Yet that’s the case, as a startling rash of injuries pushed the two goalies up the team’s depth chart. Giguere was the most recent addition to a walking (or waddling, I guess, since they’re wearing goalie pads?) wounded list that included Jonas Gustavsson (minor heart surgery) and minor league netminder Jussi Rynnas (broken finger).

It’s likely that Reimer will get a nice run of starts, but Scrivens is an asset to the organization too … even if it’s just to get them through survival mode. The gang at Pension Plan Puppets points out that one of the perks of having the Toronto Marlies as their AHL affiliate is that Scrivens was able to play for the Marlies Friday and then backup Reimer tonight without traveling.

Considering the team’s goalie headaches, it’s nice to at least have one convenient thing going for them, after all.

Save of the night: James Reimer reigns supreme over the Islanders

75363_maple_leafs_islanders_hockey

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

If you’ve not heard of James Reimer yet, that just means you’re not living in Toronto. There, Reimer is quickly becoming a cult hero with Leafs faithful for his big saves and his ability to actually win games for the Leafs. The Leafs moved to within eight points of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference after a 5-2 win over the Islanders last night and he managed to impress Leafs fans everywhere with his abilities in goal again.

In the third period with the Leafs leading 4-2, the Islanders were working the puck around the Leafs zone when it ended up on the stick of Frans Nielsen who unleashed a big slap shot through traffic. Somehow, Reimer was able to track it at the last second and make a huge glove save to keep the Isles at bay. Reimer’s popularity is big enough to warrant a nickname that would make Michael Bay’s eyebrows perk up: Optimus Reim. If he keeps up his play while making more saves like this, Leafs fans will be hoping he transforms into a playoff starting goalie this season.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

James Reimer ripple effects? Jonas Gustavsson sent down to the AHL

Jonas Gustavsson, James Reimer

In case you haven’t heard, James Reimer pitched a 27-save shutout last night. If you live in or around Toronto, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about it. (Maybe even 27 times at this point?)

While the Maple Leafs claim that they’re sending (or “loaning”) goalie Jonas Gustavsson to the minors for a conditioning stint, it appears that they really did so to give him some reps and maybe restore his wavering confidence. Yet Chemmy at Pension Plan Puppets brings up the interesting possibility that Gustavsson could face the possibility of being outplayed in the AHL by Jussi Rynaas and therefore might not resurface in the big leagues this season.

It’s been a nasty season for “The Monster,” as he put together a 6-13-2 record with ugly individual numbers (3.29 GAA and 89 save percentage). Meanwhile Reimer is becoming a minor sensation, going 5-3-0 in nine appearances with a 1.96 GAA and a 94 save percentage.

Reimer is on a darling run right now, but maintaining such numbers is unlikely. The question is: how far is “this” Reimer from the goalie we’ll see once he regresses to the mean?

Leafs fans are satisfied to get a little excited about this small sample size, though. After all these years of frustration, can you really blame them?

Sharks confirm it’s Jones over Reimer in goal for Game 1

Martin Jones, Brent Burns
Getty Images
1 Comment

In late March, we passed along this bit out of San Jose — when CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz asked Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer if he was ready to commit to Martin Jones as his playoff starter, DeBoer replied curiously.

“We think we’ve got two guys that we’re very comfortable with,” he said. “We’ll see where we are when we have to make those decisions.”

Well, today was apparently the day to make that decision.

DeBoer put any potential goalie controversy to bed — at least for now — by confirming it would be Jones in Game 1 versus Los Angeles, with James Reimer serving as the backup.

More, from the Mercury News:

Jones has been the Sharks’ No. 1 goalie all season but San Jose has had one of the NHL’s better goaltending tandems since they acquired James Reimer from Toronto in late February. In eight starts for the Sharks, Reimer, who has played in more playoff games than Jones, is 6-2 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.62 goals against average.
Advertisement

Since the All-Star break, Jones is 14-10-1 with a goals against average of 2.08 and a save percentage of .922.

Jones, of course, has been the guy for San Jose this year. He’s posted solid numbers (37 wins, .918 save percentage, 2.27 GAA) while carrying one of the league’s heaviest workloads. His 65 appearances were fifth-most among goalies.

But Reimer’s arrival made things interesting.

Prior to, the guy Reimer was traded for — Alex Stalock — was mired in a disappointing campaign, and regarded as one of the league’s weaker backups. So with Stalock in the fold, there was a sense Jones almost had to play as much as he did.

Which might explain why DeBoer hesitated before officially naming Jones his Game 1 starter. But what the head coach might’ve done — inadvertently or not — is create a situation where Jones is looking over his shoulder, or plays like he’s on a short leash.

Reimer shoots down report of $6M asking price

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer reacts during a break in the first period of Toronto's NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Getty Images
3 Comments

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.