Photo Credit: Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SPORTS
The negotiation window has led to teams signing players right in the opening minutes of Unrestricted Free Agency, and this year is no exception. Many of hockey’s biggest names have already found new homes, and some ex-Leafs have made decisions as well. James Reimer and Stuart Percy wasted no time finding new teammates in the Eastern Conference.
— General Fanager (@generalfanager) July 1, 2016
Reimer’s destination is a bit of a surprising one at first glance but makes a lot of sense once you let things soak in. Roberto Luongo is still an elite goaltender, but at 37 years old, he isn’t getting much younger. Reimer can take away some of his workload now, jump ahead in the future, and he does so at an extremely team-friendly price. Needless to say, the Panthers are all but guaranteed to have starter calibre goaltending for 82 games a year.
Stuart Percy has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal with PIT. $575K/$200K.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2016
Percy is a sensible risk. He’s shown flashes of decency in his NHL call-ups, but hasn’t hit the heights that Leafs fans and management thought that he would when he was drafted in 2011. Injuries have played a key part in that; if he can stay healthy, he might be able to get his development path back on track.
Ultimately, the Leafs weren’t going to be involved in getting either of these players back. Reimer’s relationship with the team had been strained, and they seem pretty confident in Frederik Andersen. Percy wasn’t even qualified this week, perhaps due to a recognition that a change of scenery would do everybody some good. Hopefully, these two can reach the heights that many expected of them in the past.