Hand It To Reimer
The newest savior of the Toronto Maple Leafs is none other than James Reimer. With a career NHL save percentage of .970 and a career goals against average of 0.81. Oh wait, he only has one NHL start and it came against one of the worst offensive teams in the league in the Ottawa Senators who was without one of its best offensive players in Jason Spezza.
The Sens have only scored 90 goals this season, which is actually one more than the Leafs have. And while that means that fans should err on the side of caution when it comes to judging James Reimer's performance on Saturday night, what does that say about the Sens goaltending tandem of Brian Elliot and Mike Brodeur who were beat 5-1 by the usually low scoring Leafs? In fact, that's the second time this season that the Sens have been beaten by the Leafs by a score of 5-1, and the first time was with Pascal Leclaire.
But let's get back to the Leafs goaltending situation, and believe me there is a situation, or at least there should be.
First let's address what I think will happen. I think that the Leafs will go back to Gustavsson for the next couple of games at least and then when Giguere is healthy, James Reimer will be returned to the Marlies. He may not even start another game before that happens. The coaching and management of this team is too hardheaded, or boneheaded to make a bold change that actually makes sense.
Now what should happen is that James Reimer should get another start for the Leafs tonight at home against the Bruins. Now obviously Reimer hasn't proven anything, but in all seriousness what has Jonas Gustavsson proven? As of right now, Jonas Gustavsson with 18 more starts than Reimer, has only 4 more wins than him.
Has Gustavsson made big saves this season? Yes, but not consistently. Fans and media will argue that Gustavsson has been good but hasn't received a whole lot of offensive support. While the latter part is true, Gustavsson has hardly been good. There's a lot of bad teams with good goaltending and the Leafs are not one of them. With a save percentage of .897 and a GAA of 3.04, why are we still putting confidence in Jonas Gustavsson?
Reimer won't bring immediate greatness, but his numbers won't be worse than the ones mentioned above. At the end of the day, many teams have ended up with starting goaltenders that they didn't expect to have. Goaltending is a position that can have an immediate impact and turn a team's fortunes completely around. I'm not saying that will happen with Reimer in net, but at this point what do we have to lose? The worst case scenario at this point is that the Leafs will remain the same, so I as a fan am willing to take a chance with Reimer as the starter.
Another factor that tips the scale in favour of starting Reimer is next season. I as a fan want to know what we have going forward and management as management should also want to know what they have going forward. As of right now, we know that neither Gustavsson or Giguere can be the guy going forward and if they are well then this team is not going to turn it around. I want to know though if James Reimer has what it takes to be the guy. If he does, then great, we have our goaltender for the future. If not, well then we know that we have to get one in the offseason. We can't have Reimer playing in the Marlies all season, have a good season, and then next year say he's our guy. I want to know that he can play well at the NHL level before he's given that crown.
With that said, all of this makes too much sense for the Leafs 'coaching' staff and management to actually pull off. Burke worked hard to sign a goaltender who had success in another part of the world, so in all likeliness, we have to stick with him.
But personally, I say it's Reim Time.