James Reimer could be nearing his end with the Toronto Maple Leafs. An unrestricted free agent on July 1, it remains to be seen whether or not the Leafs will be able to or even want to re-sign the goaltender. So will the Maple Leafs elect to trade the goalie that has been such a good soldier for the team?
Reimer has had the top save percentage in the NHL for most of the season. He has taken back the starter’s job that a lot of people would say he should have never lost. While some say that the Leafs should move on from Jonathan Bernier and his disappointing season, you have to admit that Reimer would get the Leafs a much better return in a trade.
So who could the Maple Leafs trade Reimer to? Well, let’s look at teams with injured goalies. Currently, teams that have a goalie that is injured include Arizona, Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Winnipeg. The team that pops up the most from that list is obviously Montreal, who are really missing Carey Price. While it is highly unlikely that the division rivals would get together in a trade, it might actually work out if Price is indeed out for the rest of the season.
If the Habs want to get back into the playoff picture, they could take on the rest of Reimer’s contract and let him go after the season. A second-round pick just might be worth getting back into the playoff race. The same might be said for the Winnipeg Jets, who are without Ondrej Pavelec.
Helping Determine The Playoffs
Teams that are also under a lot of pressure to succeed might also make a play for Reimer. Prime among those teams would be the Nashville Predators. They’ve already made a big move to improve their offense by acquiring Ryan Johansen. The thing is that Pekka Rinne has slowed down from his good start. If they were to acquire Reimer, they could give Rinne a bit more rest heading into the playoffs. With the Predators occupying the first wild cart spot in the Western Conference, they may need to do more to solidify their position with three teams within six points of them.
In a way, if the Leafs trade Reimer to a team that is close to the playoffs in the West, they could help determine who makes it to the playoffs. If enough teams want to make to improve their goaltending depth at the Deadline, the Leafs could be able to get a first-round pick out of the deal. Remember if a team is looking for goaltending depth, there would not be a better goalie on the market.
The thing is, the Leafs could end up trading Reimer at the Deadline and then bring him back in free agency, much like they did with Daniel Winnik last season. That way they get a piece for the future and bring back Reimer, who could also be a part of the Maple Leafs’ future if they so choose.
So who would you trade Reimer to? Or would you trade him at all?