If there is one player who deserved to be treated better by the Toronto Maple Leafs it would definitely be James Reimer.
During the years of J-S GIgurre and Jonas Gustavsson, there was never a shred of hope for the Leafs to make the playoffs, but on January 11 2011 that would all change. After relieving Gustavsson in the 3rd period of the previous game, Reimer was given his first start against Ottawa in a 5-1 Toronto win. The Leafs actually made a run for the playoffs which came up just short but for once James Reimer provided the hope that had been lost for many years. The Leafs had a legitimate number one goalie and for the last 3 years there was optimism in Leafs Nation.
His first year as the starter was a rough year because of a concussion that he sustained from a collision with Brian Gionta. Last season he carried the Leafs to the playoffs and kept them in a tough series against the Bruins. Then Dave Nonis makes a trade with the LA Kings to acquire Jonathan Bernier. At the time when Bernier was acquired Nonis was quoted in the Toronto Star saying (http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/maple-leafs-trade-for-goalie-jonathan-bernier-1.1376534)
“We feel we’ve got two of the top young goaltenders in the league right now. . . I’m looking forward to getting them both together. I think it’s going to be a good fit.”
[“We feel we’ve got two of the top young goaltenders in the league right now. . . I’m looking forward to getting them both together. I think it’s going to be a good fit.”Nonis said he had not spoken yet with Reimer but had left a message for him and expected they would talk soon. Nonis confirmed the Leafs were a contender for Bernier’s services right from the start of the regular season.]
It seemed like Reimer and Bernier would operate under a 1A,1B model but Bernier would be given the starters job and Reimer’s future as a Toronto Maple Leafs was coming to an end. When Reimer did receive playing time the team would play atrocious defence in front of him and his confidence began to dwindle. Even Don Cherry said that Reimer lost confidence which is sad to think considering that Reimer got the Leafs to the playoffs last season.
IN this year’s season finale against Ottawa, James Reimer and the Leafs had a chance to make Reimer’s (most likely) last game as a Leafs memorable but again his team didn’t care. Breakaways, odd man rushes and a 4 ON 1! Not exactly letting your goalie know that you are rooting for him. The worst part came after the game when reporters asked Reimer about the game and what his future holds.
Here is the link to the article and video of Reimer’s interview (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/collapse-complete-leafs-let-reimer-down-in-the-end/).
One part of the interview that I wanted to point out was that Reimer thought that he wanted to be the Leafs goalie for the foreseeable future and that the thought of that coming to an end is sad. I hope management realizes that the way they treated Reimer is not sitting well with Leafs fans.
Instead of trading for a defencemen or a number one center the Leafs went after a goalie which they already had. I like Bernier as a goalie but I am concerned about his recent groin injury and whether he will stay after his contract is up this year. The Leafs better think long and hard about the Reimer situation and decide whether Bernier will resign with the Leafs.
Also this isn’t the first time that Bernier beat out Reimer for a starters job. Bernier beat out Reimer for the Team Canada starters job at the 2011 World Championships which Canada lost to Russia in the semifinals.
Here are Reimer’s stats as a Toronto Maple Leafs to remind Leafs fans that he was not just an average goalie, he just had an average team play for him. For you advanced stats guys here are some numbers that show the support that Reimer got this year from his teammates. I couldn’t get the advanced stats to fit on the page but here are the links for the stats and what these stats mean, but I’ll put it in simpler terms, Bernier got better support than Reimer. (http://www.extraskater.com/players/on-ice?team=tor&pos=G&min_gp=25 http://www.extraskater.com/players/goalies?team=tor&min_gp=25)