James Reimer is no longer a Toronto Maple Leaf. It’s a bit of a shock as Reimer and prospect, Jeremy Morin, were dealt to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon in exchange for Ben Smith, Alex Stalock and a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2018.
Reimer was the longest tenured Maple Leaf, as he played his first games in the Blue and White in 2010-11. He was selected by the organization way back in 2006 with the 99th overall pick. Many were sad to see Reimer go. He was a fierce competitor, always had a positive attitude and was a great presence on the ice and in the dressing room.
Before the trade to the Sharks, there was an attempt made to re-sign Reimer to a reasonable contract. Reimer’s camp was looking for a deal around the $6 million dollar range. That was deemed too much for Leafs management, who promptly traded the veteran out west to the Sharks.
The San Jose Sharks are gearing up for a playoff run. They have a solid team comprised of players like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns. They have a solid number one netminder in Martin Jones, but wanted some insurance for the future just in case.
That’s where Reimer comes in. He’s a proven veteran who can play in all situations. He will be able to give Jones a bit of a break and if he is to falter at any point during the playoffs, Reimer will be able to take the reins and potentially help the team steal a game or a round.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 27, 2016
It was a smart trade for the Sharks to make and they didn’t have to give up a whole lot in return.
Maple Leafs Return
The Maple Leafs were on the losing end of this particular deal. In exchange for a competent goaltender, they were sent back Ben Smith, Alex Stalock and a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2018.
Smith is a gritty forward who has spent the majority of his season with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. He has 10 points in 14 games for them. He will most likely walk in the summer, as he is an unrestricted free agent.
Alex Stalock is more interesting. He is also a UFA after this season and should get a chance to make it into some games so the Leafs can see what they have in him. This season with the Sharks, he holds a record of 3-5-0 with a .884 save percentage.
It’s not clear exactly where both of these players will end up. Lou Lamoriello wants to give Mike Babcock a chance to size each of them up before he makes a decision on where they fit.
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) February 27, 2016
The Maple Leafs also received a conditional fourth round draft pick for the 2018 selection. If San Jose makes the Stanley Cup Finals, the pick becomes a third round selection. No draft pick is ever bad, no matter how late in the event it is.
If the Maple Leafs want to get Reimer back, they will have the opportunity in the summer. If the asking price is again too much, the Maple Leafs can pass. They have no obligation to bring him back if he doesn’t fit into their future plans. No harm, no foul.
If this season was the last time that Reimer donned the Blue and White, then I believe that a thank you is in order. Reimer was classy, competitive and fierce. He experienced the highs and lows that are associated with the Maple Leafs and the loyal fan base won’t soon forget everything he did for the franchise.
It’s sad to see him go, but it was time to move on. The future is bright and the Buds are just getting started.