The Toronto Maple Leafs have shipped out goaltender James Reimer, the team announced Saturday afternoon. He’ll be joining the San Jose Sharks as a part of a trade that involves four players and a pick.
The full deal sees Reimer and 24-year-old forward Jeremy Morin heading to San Jose in exchange for Alex Stalock, Ben Smith and a conditional 4th round pick in 2018.
“James is an experienced NHL goaltender who will help add to our depth at that position as we head down the stretch run of the season,” commented general manager Doug Wilson following the trade. “Jeremy gives our group another versatile forward and a player that our coaching staff is familiar with. We’re excited to add them both to our organization.”
The Sharks’ starting goaltender Martin Jones has been good, if a bit inconsistent, but he’s had to take on a huge workload in his first season as a starter because the Sharks have completely lost faith in backup Alex Stalock.
Stalock has an .884 save percentage through 13 games and has started just three games in 2016.
Reimer will not only give them a backup, but gives Jones competition for the starting role. That will be good for the Sharks who are playoff bound and needed to find a solution in net as a trade deadline priority. If they hope to make a serious postseason push, they’ll need excellent goaltending.
“Alex and Ben have both been important members of our team on the ice but even more importantly, they are both tremendous teammates and first-class individuals,” Wilson said of his departing players. “They will be missed and we want to thank them for everything they have given to the San Jose Sharks organization and our fans.
On the Toronto side, they acquire two players with expiring contracts. With goaltending being a buyers market — based on this deal — it’s unlikely the Leafs are going to flip Stalock. However, Ben Smith is a player that may be of interest in a package. He comes from San Jose having been in the AHL for a while. Injuries made it tough for him to solidify a spot on the roster and he clearly never impressed new Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer.
Smith has talent and can be a good depth player, capable of driving play and adding a little secondary scoring. His short time with San Jose last season wasn’t exemplary and he struggled to stick this year, but as a part of a package, there could very well be teams out there that think Smith is an upgrade on their fourth line.
It’s probably less return on Reimer than many Leafs fans hoped for, but there are a lot of goaltenders available on the market. In the end, Reimer wasn’t likely to be the starter for the Leafs’ next phase, so getting a pick for him before he turns UFA on Jul. 1 is what they needed to do.
RELATED: Andrew Ladd Traded to Chicago