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)
Associated Press

Goalie swap: Sharks land Reimer in trade with Maple Leafs

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The Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks have agreed to a second trade in less than a week.

San Jose has reportedly acquired goaltender James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin from Toronto for goaltender Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.

This deal makes sense for both sides for very different reasons.

PHT’s Mike Halford actually called this one a few days ago:

Woah!

It’s no secret that the Sharks have been looking to upgrade their backup goalie for some time.

San Jose has received some steady goaltending from starter Martin Jones, but it’s Stalock who’s been problematic for them.

The 28-year-old has posted some mediocre numbers, and it’s clear he didn’t have the trust of the coaching staff, as he’s played just 13 games in 2015-16.

The Sharks fill an important need and the price they paid is beyond reasonable.

For the Leafs, it’s surprising to see how little they got back for a pending unrestricted free agent like Reimer, but ultimately the plan is for Toronto is to tank…and tank they will!

All four players involved in this deal have expiring contracts (Morin is the only one who’ll be an RFA at the end of the season).

Darren Dreger has more details regarding the conditional draft pick going to Toronto:

Fun fact: This is the fifth time 24-year-old Jeremy Morin has been traded:

Morin

Reimer wants ‘to be a Leaf my whole career,’ but isn’t sure what management thinks

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James Reimer picked a great season to have a great season.

A pending unrestricted free agent, Reimer has started 21 games for the Maple Leafs and has a .937 save percentage. Of the 35 NHL goalies that have started at least 20 games this season, that’s the highest save percentage of them all.

So yeah, pretty good timing there.

Reimer, 27, reiterated today that he’d like to remain in Toronto long-term. The only thing is, he’s not sure how management feels.

“I’ve loved being a Leaf and I’d like to be a Leaf my whole career, but obviously this unrestricted thing is sometimes a weird thing,” he told reporters, per TSN’s Mark Masters.

Certainly, Reimer has to be targeting at least what Cam Talbot got (three years, $12.5 million) from the Oilers. In fact, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the “educated guess of a few NHL management types outside of Toronto is five to seven years at $4.5- to $5.5-million per season.”

Which would be a big commitment, both salary- and term-wise, for a guy that’s never started more than 35 games in a single NHL season.

Also, his save percentage was just .907 last season.

Oh, and he has limited postseason experience, just seven games in all. He was between the pipes for Toronto’s infamous first-round collapse against the Bruins in 2013. Not long after that — and perhaps because of that — the Leafs went out and got Jonathan Bernier from the Kings.

Of course, a lot has changed in Toronto since 2013. Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello are in charge of hockey operations now, and Bernier has struggled badly during Mike Babcock’s first season behind the bench. The Leafs have reportedly made Bernier available on the trade market. He has a $4.15 million cap hit through next season.

If Reimer doesn’t re-sign with the Leafs, one team that could have interest is Calgary. Flames president Brian Burke was a big fan of Reimer’s when the former was in charge of the Leafs.

Related: Lamoriello will be busy at first deadline as Leafs GM

Goalie nods: Reimer back in starter’s role for Toronto (Update: Nope, it’s Bernier)

James Reimer
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James Reimer will make his first start for the Maple Leafs since Dec. 3 tonight in Pittsburgh.

Update: No he won’t. Not long before puck drop, head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer woke up with tightness today, and the Leafs decided to shut him down immediately. So it’ll be Jonathan Bernier tonight instead, with Antoine Bibeau backing up on an emergency recall basis.

Reimer, who’s been sidelined for most of the month with an undisclosed injury, gets back into the starter’s role after Bernier was torched for six goals on 15 shots in Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders. Reimer came on in relief of Bernier and fared well, stopping all six shots faced.

Prior to getting hurt, Reimer was playing some of the best hockey of his career — the 27-year-old was 7-4-4 with a 1.96 GAA and .936 save percentage.

For Pittsburgh, Matt Murray will get the start in goal again.

Elsewhere…

Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Caps after shutting out the Sabres on Monday. Buffalo will go with a different netminder in the rematch: Chad Johnson, who allowed three goals on 33 shots in a win over Boston on Saturday.

Cory Schneider‘s in for the Devils tonight, while Ottawa counters with Andrew Hammond.

Ben Bishop will start when the Bolts host the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. No word yet on a New York nod; head coach Alain Vigneault is expected to make an announcement within the next hour.

Martin Jones goes for the Sharks against Philly tonight. No word yet on a Flyers starter.

Goalie nods: Reimer looks to re-establish form after three-game absence

James Reimer
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After Garret Sparks’ second career start went much, much worse than his first, the Maple Leafs will give James Reimer the start this evening when they take on the Wild in Minnesota.

Reimer, who’s missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, had been playing great prior to getting hurt — in November, he went 6-2-3 with a 1.68 GAA and .949 save percentage. He wrestled the No. 1 job away from Jonathan Bernier (who’s now in the midst of a stint with the AHL Marlies) and was a big reason why the Leafs won five of six from Nov. 10-20.

As for Sparks, his feel-good story hit a rough patch last night in a blowout 6-1 loss to the Jets. The rookie was on the hook for all six goals, a far cry from the shutout he posted against Edmonton earlier in the week in his NHL debut.

For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk will get the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

— The Avs are going back to Semyon Varlamov as they take on the Rangers at MSG. Varlamov hasn’t played since allowing four goals in a loss to the Islanders on Monday; Reto Berra played in Tuesday’s 2-1 win in New Jersey. No word yet on who starts for the Rangers.

— Battle of the backups in Carolina as Keith Kinkaid starts for the Devils, while Eddie Lack goes for the ‘Canes.

— It’s Braden Holtby (as per usual) for the Caps in Montreal, while the Habs counter with Mike Condon.

— No surprises in Ottawa, as the Sens continue to roll with Craig Anderson while the ‘Hawks start Corey Crawford.

Mike Smith will look to rebound after allowing four goals (granted, on 40 shots) in his last outing, a loss to Nashville. The Wings are going with Jimmy Howard after Petr Mrazek started the last two games.

— The red-hot Roberto Luongo (1.29 GAA, .952 save percentage over his current three-game winning streak) will go for Florida in Nashville. Pekka Rinne is likely for the Preds.

Ryan Miller will get the nod for Vancouver tonight when the Canucks host the Stars. No word yet on a Dallas starter.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.