This is something I didn’t think I’d write, but here we are.
At the moment, all signs point to Petr Mrazek being gone by the end of summer which means the Maple Leafs will need another backup goaltender. While it’s not clear if Jack Campbell will be gone, too, there has been no good news up to this point. So expect the worst.
If that’s the case, Toronto would be on the hunt for two netminders. They could either choose a tandem — similar to last season — or a legitimate starter and backup.
A few days ago, TLN’s Managing Editor Jon Steitzer wrote a great article looking at how a few of the netminders outside of the Maple Leafs organization compared to Campbell and Mrazek. The numbers are unsurprising to say the least.
Some names that are mentioned in the article were expected, like Eric Comrie and Ville Husso because they seem like legitimate options. However, one name that was missing from the article was James Reimer.
Now, I know what you might be saying; “JAMES REIMER?! No, we’re good.” But the reality is the 34-year-old had a great season on an abysmal San Jose Sharks team. Reimer was also rumoured to have teams garnering interest in him around the trade deadline this season.
The 34-year-old played the most games of any goaltender this season for the Sharks at 48. His save percentage during that span was a .911, which is better than Mrazek’s .888 SV%, and very close to Campbell’s .914 SV%.
Reimer also has one more year remaining on his contract at $2.25 million. It could be the perfect price to pay for a goaltender who might turnout to be a great backup, and has a history with Toronto.
What’s most interesting to me is how similar Reimer and Campbell’s underlying numbers actually are from this past season (via MoneyPuck.com).
|James Reimer||Jack Campbell|
|Expected Goals Against||129.12||120.66|
|Goals Saved Above Expected||0.1||-2.3|
|Goals Saved Above Expected/60||0.002||-0.049|
These numbers aren’t the best from either goaltender, and really, are most definitely not the greatest compared to the netminders available in free agency this summer. But even if this was something that could happen in the future, a trade would need to be made between the Maple Leafs and Sharks.
With Adin Hill and Kaapo Kahkonen likely to be the future for San Jose, the door is open for the 34-year-old to move onto another team. It could be Toronto but that depends on what they’d like to give up to acquire Reimer.
I’d personally be okay with Toronto giving up a fourth-round pick in 2023 and a low-tier prospect, but that’s as low as I’d go. And even then, it feels like a lot and it’s not like the Maple Leafs need Reimer either. This is just an option that’s available if they wanted to go that route.
It would make more sense for Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and management to go for a few netminders in free agency. If they can’t seem to lock up a backup or tandem, then you look into a trade.
But looking at what other goaltenders on the open market can provide, this option seems like it’s the last on the list.
(Statistics via MoneyPuck.com, NHL.com. Contract values via PuckPedia.com)
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