Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer takes a lot of heat in the Toronto market. Not only does the Maple Leafs netminder face an absurd amount of rubber whenever he starts behind Toronto's permissive group of skaters, but he's constantly compared (usually unfavorably) with Jonathan Bernier - who has emerged as one of the game's most talented young netminders.
But it's not the heat or the endless front of criticism that's likely to end Reimer's Toronto tenure. Rather it's Reimer's desire to play every day that could see him "respectfully request a trade" this off-season, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Dreger was asked by TSN host James Duthie on Wednesday whether or not Reimer was likely to return to the Maple Leafs next season. Here's his response in full:
I think that's very unlikely for the reason that you just pointed out: he wants to be a starter again. He's more or less uncomfortable with his role as a backup, he wants to be respectful obviously to the Toronto Maple Leafs because he loves being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he also fondly recalls his time as a starter with this team - an accidental starter if you want to go back to the 2010-11 season - so I believe that in the off-season James Reimer will respectfully request a trade and look to for an opportunity to once again be a starting goaltender as a restricted free-agent
Reimer has consistently posted an above average save-percentage in his career, despite playing behind a poor defensive team. And he's particularly proficient at even-strength. Even this season, which has been a "down" year for Reimer, he has a .926 save percentage at five-on-five. That would put him 22nd among the 67 goaltenders who have played at least 500 minutes.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Andrew Weber