Dreger: Maple Leafs G James Reimer will 'respectfully request a trade' this summer

Mar 19, 9:30 PM

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 Andrew Weber / USA TODAY Sports

Jul 28, 12:21 PM

Maple Leafs' Reimer: 'It's not a case where I wanted to leave' Toronto

Jul 28, 12:21 PM

James Reimer attempted to clear the air surrounding his tumultuous offseason during an appearance on Sportsnet 590's The Jeff Blair Show on Monday.

The embattled Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender said he never actually wanted to leave the team, refuting reports suggesting he requested a trade.

It's hard to blame Reimer for thinking things were done in Toronto after it appeared Jonathan Bernier was going to be the Maple Leafs' starter going forward. Reimer says he "was told that there's a definite opportunity" for him to become the starter this season, which remains his goal.

Whether or not Toronto coach Randy Carlyle will entertain that notion remains to be seen. Reimer insists his sour relationship with Carlyle "was blown a little out of proportion," but it certainly doesn't sound like they got along last season.

You can listen to the entire radio interview here.

Feature photo courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski / US Presswire

Jul 27, 9:27 PM

Maple Leafs GM Nonis: Reimer never said ‘Get me out of here' prior to signing new deal

Jul 27, 9:27 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and James Reimer agreed to terms on a new two-year, $4.6-million contract on Friday, and general manager Dave Nonis used the opportunity to clear up earlier reports that the goaltender had requested a trade earlier this summer.

“He never said: ‘Get me out of here,’” Nonis told the Toronto Star.

The general manager continued:

What he did ask was for us to explore opportunities that would make sense for both sides. We did. I went back to him and said, ‘I don’t have something that I would feel comfortable doing and we prefer to sign you.’ We both felt him coming back was good for us and for him. He wouldn’t have signed a two-year-deal if he didn’t feel comfortable coming back to Toronto.

Nonis added the deal "gives James a little bit of security and shows we still believe he is a goaltender that can continue to improve, and it solidifies our goaltending position."

Per Capgeek, Toronto will be paying Reimer and Jonathan Bernier a combined $5.2 million in 2014-15, less than the individual salaries of the top 15 paid goalies. 

At the same time, the affordable, short-term nature of Reimer's contract makes it easier to move should the demand on the goalie market begin to increase once the season begins.

In 140 career appearances with the Maple Leafs, Reimer boasts a record of 65-48-15, with a .914 save percentage and 11 shutouts.

Feature photo courtesy of Shawn Coates / USA TODAY Sports

Jul 25, 4:54 PM

Maple Leafs, James Reimer agree to 2-year deal worth a reported $4.6 million

Jul 25, 4:54 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender James Reimer won't test their already tenuous relationship any further, avoiding arbitration with a two-year pact.

Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman reports that the deal will pay him $2.3 million in average annual salary. 

More: How the deal gives both sides what they want  

Despite requesting a trade after posting career-worst numbers in a supporting role last season, Reimer will earn a raise from $1.8 million he banked a year ago.

The 26-year-old featured a 12-16-2 record with a forgettable 3.29 GAA and .911 Sv% while being supplanted by Jonathan Bernier as the team's No. 1 goaltender.

The modest extension may help facilitate Reimer's request to be dealt. 

Feature photo courtesy of Marc DesRosiers / US Presswire

Jul 2, 6:24 PM

Maple Leafs' James Reimer files for salary arbitration

Jul 2, 6:24 PM

With no trade in sight to end the impasse between the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender James Reimer, Reimer has filed for salary arbitration.

Reimer posted his highest career goals-against average (3.29) last season, winning just 12 games in 36 appearances despite recording a good even-strength save percentage (.922). He also guided Toronto to a postseason berth in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, so an arbitration decision - should contract negotiations reach that stage - could vary wildly depending on which stats are deemed more representative of his skill set.

Jun 30, 11:55 AM

Report: Maple Leafs tell Reimer to be ready for camp in the absence of strong trade offers

Jun 30, 11:55 AM

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, unsurprisingly, has requested a trade. It's a buyer's market for goaltenders this summer though, and according to a report from TSN's Darren Dreger, the Leafs have yet to receive a "strong offer" for Reimer.

In the absence of a competitive offer for Reimer's services, the Maple Leafs have told their former starter - who has consistently posted an above average even-strength save percentage on a defensively porous club - to be ready for training camp this fall. 

Reimer is a pending restricted free agent and will have to receive a qualifying offer before 5 p.m. ET on Monday. 

Jun 29, 5:07 PM

Report: Maple Leafs' Reimer requests trade; Jets showed interest at draft

Jun 29, 5:07 PM

Restricted free agent James Reimer would like to start next season somewhere other than Toronto and a report from Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos suggests a return to his home province is possible.

The Winnipeg Jets already have Ondrej Pavelec under contract at a starter's salary ($3.9 million) for the next three seasons, but his declining even-strength save percentage - which went from .921 in 2011-12 to .909 last season - does not inspire much confidence. The Jets have yet to use a compliance buyout on Pavelec, so a trade for Reimer could lead to a platoon situation.

Jun 26, 6:30 PM

Leafs GM won't 'rule out' James Reimer returning to Toronto next season

Jun 26, 6:30 PM

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, one of many scapegoats for the club's epic collapse down the stretch this past season, is on the trade block and is expected to be moved this offseason. 

Despite those expectations, Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis wouldn't close the door on the Reimer-era entirely while speaking with reporters in Philadelphia, Pa. on Thursday. 

"[A trade] is a possibility," Nonis said of Reimer, per Pro Hockey Talk. "The other possibility is to come here and try to start here. … I wouldn’t rule out him coming back."

Though Reimer has posted above average numbers as an everyday starter in the NHL in the recent past, even leading the Maple Leafs to their first postseason berth in nearly a decade during the lockout abbreviated 2013 campaign, he fell out of favor this past season in Toronto. Surely if Reimer breaks camp with the Maple Leafs this fall, it won't be as a starting netminder, a job that has clearly already been won by Jonathan Bernier.

That isn't a situation that's likely to please Reimer, a pending restricted free agent. Also, if the Maple Leafs bring Reimer back next season, then where exactly does Martin Brodeur fit in?

Apr 12, 10:38 PM

James Reimer wanted to have 'last memorable game' with Maple Leafs in season finale

Apr 12, 10:38 PM

The writing appears to be on the wall in terms of goaltender James Reimer's eventual exit from Toronto after a rather tumultuous season. 

Following the Maple Leafs' final game of the regular season Saturday - a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senator, Reimer said: "It's unfortunate the way things have turned out," and added, "I was just trying to come in here and have a last memorable game."

Reimer, a restricted free agent this summer, finished the season with a personal record of 12-16-1, a save percentage of .911 (.922 at even strength), and one shutout.

Largely relegated to the backup role behind Jonathan Bernier, Reimer seems destined to ply his trade elsewhere next season, thereby bringing a once promising rise in Toronto to an end.

Reimer stopped 36 of 37 shots in the loss to Ottawa.

Apr 9, 3:41 PM

Leafs' James Reimer on if he'll request a trade this offseason: 'Obviously, it's a fair question'

Apr 9, 3:41 PM

The writing has been on the wall for months, with the discussion hitting its crescendo in late March. It seems, in all likelihood, as if the Toronto Maple Leafs are headed towards a divorce with goaltender and frequent Randy Carlyle scapegoat James Reimer this offseason.

The Toronto Maple Leafs clearly see Jonathan Bernier as the club's goaltender of the future, which is fair enough considering how well Bernier has played in a Maple Leafs sweater. But that leaves Reimer - who has posted above-average numbers in his NHL career, and thinks of himself as a workhorse goaltender - in a difficult spot. A starter without a goal to occupy.

On Wednesday afternoon the Maple Leafs goaltender was asked by TSN reporter Mark Masters to discuss his future. Reimer was frank, if not coy, in his answer:

Reimer added that it has been "special," "a privilege," and a "real honor" to wear the Maple Leafs sweater over the past several seasons.

Mar 25, 6:14 PM

Kypreos: 'For all purposes I think Reimer's days in Toronto are over'

Mar 25, 6:14 PM

Sportsnet NHL insider Nick Kypreos does not think James Reimer will be in net for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night - or next season.

Any goodwill between Reimer and the Maple Leafs organization appears to have evaporated this season after Jonathan Bernier seized the starting role around the time of the Winter Classic. Reimer is shouldering most of the blame for Toronto's recent struggles and has recently been at odds with coach Randy Carlyle.

It will be interesting to see what Toronto can get in return if it tries to trade Reimer as an unsigned restricted free agent in the offseason. Reimer's even-strength save percentage has held at .920 despite his recent run of poor starts and his career numbers suggest he could thrive on a team with competent penalty-killing and average possession numbers.

Toronto is 28th in the NHL with a 78.7 penalty-killing percentage and surrenders a league-worst 36.0 shots per game.

Mar 19, 7:08 PM

James Reimer's agent clarifies tweets, says it has been 'a trying season' for Leafs goalie

Mar 19, 7:08 PM

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer is having something of a off year backing up Jonathan Bernier. Reimer has posted a .913 save percentage, has won as many games as he's lost in 29 appearances this season, and has been roundly criticized in the Toronto market for his inability to control rebounds and his apparent "slow glove hand."

Reimer allowed three goals against in a loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Reimer thought he'd played well, but his coach apparently disagreed, and his agent threw a lit match into the tinder box by pointing out (quite rightly) that Toronto's defense had failed them against Detroit more than the team's goaltending had. 

On Wednesday, ahead of Reimer making the second of back-to-back starts, the Maple Leafs goaltender's agent Ray Petkau released a statement clarifying his untimely Tuesday night tweet. From TSN's Bob McKenzie:

The tweet I sent out last night, while inadvertently relevant to other comments made was not a response to post game comments from Randy Carlyle or James Reimer. I didn't hear those interviews until later. 

That said, obviously this has been a trying season for James but those are issues that we will deal with in the off season. Twitter is not the place for that but the timing of my tweet necessitated further comment under these circumstances.

Having the confidence of teammates, coaching staff and a team of supporters around them is imperative for a goalie's success especially in a big hockey market. I will always have my clients' back.

There's a couple of major things to unpack based on Petkau's statement. First of all, it's apparent from the "trying season" comment that Reimer isn't happy about his role on the team as it stands. We might also imply that "dealing with" the sources of Reimer's frustration may involve a change of scenery for the impending restricted free-agent this summer.

Finally, if enjoying the "confidence of teammates, coaching staff and a team of supporters" is imperative to a goalie's success, and Reimer's agent (presumably part of the team of supporters) has the Leafs netminder's back, that begs the question: do the coaching staff and Reimer's teammates? 

Mar 19, 10:39 AM

James Reimer's agent tweets Toronto goalie blamed when 'team plays poor defensively'

Mar 19, 10:39 AM

Differing perspectives emerged out of the Toronto locker room Tuesday after the Maple Leafs 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. On one hand, goaltender James Reimer, who stopped 28 of 31 shots in the loss, said he though he played "good," while head coach Randy Carlyle thought Reimer was "just OK."

Meanwhile, Reimer's agent offered this take on the situation:

All three of Detroit's goals were scored either on a breakaway, partial breakaway or an odd-man rush, and although the Maple Leafs outshot the Red Wings by a margin of 33-31, they rank dead last in the NHL after allowing an average of 36.3 shots per game.

Overall, Reimer - who has made only 26 starts this season - has posted a save percentage of .913, a number that's boosted to .925 at even strength. Jonathan Bernier, currently sidelined with a lower-body injury, boasts a .919 save percentage (.935 at even strength) and has clearly earned the trust of head coach Randy Carlyle.

For the time being, the reins are in Reimer's hands, and could remain there for some time depending on the severity of Bernier's injury. The 26-year old, however, is set to be a restricted free agent at season's end, and could be heading out of Toronto at some point during the offseason.