Sunday, June 12, 2011
Maple Leafs are now set for goalies
I understand the Maple Leafs have wisely locked up James Reimer for the next 3 years at about $1.8 million per season - very cap friendly. They still have Jonas Gustavvson on contract which means the two Scandinavian goalies will make up the Leafs' goaltending tandem for 2011-12.
Reimer's rise to starting goaltender in the NHL has been remarkable. He started last season in 4th spot in the Leafs' depth chart for goalies behind everyone but Ben Scrivens. First he beat out Jussi Rynnas for the starting goalie job with the Marlies. Then he did the same thing with J-S Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson.
So although he has only played a half season he still won 20 games. Based on his brief stay in the NHL he has earned the spot on the NHL team,
What worries me is Gustavsson as the back up. In his two seasons with the Leafs he has not been able to stay healthy or maintain his cool. I can't see him staying health for an entire season. Considering his frequent visits to the disabled list, I can't see him staying health for the entire season. But what concerns me more is his tendency to get frustrated and lose his cool. Stick manufacturers may enjoy watching smash his goalie sticks on the crossbars but his coach does not. When Gustavsson is not game ready, the Leafs will need a veteran goalie playing in the minors who can step in. Someone like Scott Clemmenson. Look for Brian Burke to sign a veteran goalie as his 5th goalie and to provide some insurance.
There is some risk that Reimer may come down with the sophomore jinx. But the risk is low considering his modest contract. The Leafs took a much bigger risk when the took on Giguere's massive contract when he was clearly in a decline.