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.