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Reimer Adds Backup Depth for San Jose

Reimer Adds Backup Depth for San Jose

It’s been no secret that the San Jose Sharks needed to acquire backup depth in net heading down the final stretch of their 2015-16 season.

The Pacific Division club was running with a fresh-faced Martin Jones and a veteran backup in Alex Stalock, which in theory would have been the perfect tandem. Stalock’s struggles throughout the year have caused the team to rely more heavily on Jones than a team would prefer, though, which created a not-ideal situation for the Northern California club as they pushed for a return to the post-season.

Enter James Reimer.

Where Stalock currently boasts a .884 unadjusted save percentage in all situations (one of the worst across the NHL) and a dismal 3-5-0 record, Reimer has been considerably excellent for a struggling, rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs. His .918 save percentage is slightly above league average, and is a drop-off from his league-leading numbers earlier in the year. Behind a team that has recently iced a roster worth less than $30,000 in salary, he’s gone 11-12-3; as backup insurance for Jones, Reimer is a perfect fit.

The two teams swapped Reimer and Stalock early Saturday afternoon, sending depth forwards back with each goaltender (Jeremy Morin will head to San Jose with Reimer off a near-full AHL season, while Ben Smith will arrive in Toronto with Stalock); in addition, San Jose packaged a conditional fourth round selection in 2018 for Toronto to add to their already-strong arsenal of picks over the next few years.

The value for Reimer has raised some eyebrows, especially as a struggling Anders Nilsson in Edmonton fetched a fifth-round selection last night from the St. Louis Blues; as the arguable number one netminder for Toronto this year, it seemed that Reimer could have fetched a much higher price.

The goaltender market is volatile, though. The desperate Minnesota Wild only offered the Arizona Coyotes a third round selection for Devan Dubnyk last season, and only Robin Lehner and Martin Jones – both acquired to serve as clear starters – were able to fetch first rounders last year. Even Eddie Lack, who shouldered a significant load for the Vancouver Canucks last spring, failed to get more than a third and a seventh; if teams aren’t willing to pay, it’s tough to get much return value for a position many are still wary of.

Overall, though, this is a brilliant move for the Sharks – and if Toronto wanted to up their chances of getting Auston Matthews this summer, well, they definitely did just that with this deal.

About The Author

Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Writer for Today's Slapshot, InGoal Magazine, and Coyotes.NHL.com, coach in the Arizona Coyotes Department of Hockey Development. Goalies are not voodoo.