James Reimer and Jeremy Morin have been traded to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Alex Stalock, Ben Smith and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 (becomes a third if SJ reaches the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals).
First thing’s first: Best of luck in San Jose, James Reimer, and as the person primarily responsible for Leafs fans’ only playoff memories of the last 11-going-on-12 years — thank you.
As for a first reaction to the trade: Well, it’s a return reflective of the limited market for goalies. Remove the expiring contracts coming back and it boils down to a conditional fourth rounder in 2018 in exchange for the Leafs’ best goalie. It’s underwhelming given Reimer has often done an underappreciated job for this franchise and was well liked by the fan base (for the most part), but the fact of the matter is that you’re working with a market of one or two playoff teams — in this case likely San Jose and St. Louis, the latter of which traded for Anders Nilsson last night for a fifth rounder and a goalie prospect — when it comes to trading a league-average, rental goaltender.
Reimer’s save percentage, for several months this season at or near the top of the league, had recently dropped to 17th in the NHL (.918) among goaltenders with more than 750 shots faced. That’s partly attributable to the team getting considerably worse in the last month between injuries and trades, but his play has also taken a step back of late. Should the Leafs have dealt Reimer a little earlier this season? It’s hard to know if it was possible or would’ve helped or not, given the limited goalie market.
James Reimer’s Recent Games
As Martin Jones’ backup, Alex Stalock has been a disappointment for the Sharks this season with a .884 save percentage in 13 starts. The 28-year-old’s best season came in 2013-14, when he was a .932 goalie over 24 starts, but he’s been around .900 or below since.
Between Jonathan Bernier and Alex Stalock, the Leafs now have two goalies in the bottom five among the 70 to face more than 100 shots this season. Stalock is dead last, Bernier is 66th, and Reimer is 28th (as mentioned, Reimer moves up to 17th among goalies to face more than 750 shots).
NHL Goalies by 2015-16 Save Percentage
minimum 100 saves faced, toggle for more results
|Goalie||Team||Saves||Shots Against||Save Percentage|
Ben Smith and Stalock are both UFAs at season’s end. The 27-year-old Smith was a useful depth forward for Chicago once upon a time with a 14-goal, 26-point season in 2013-14, but he’s mostly spent his time in the AHL since. Smith carries a cap hit of $1,500,000, $950,000 of which can be buried in the AHL. The Sharks needed to move Smith in this deal to open up the cap space for Reimer as they were right up against the cap ceiling.
Acquired in the one-for-one Richard Panik trade, Jeremy Morin will be headed to San Jose alongside Reimer in the deal to make the Standard Player Contracts line up. After a promising start in a Marlie uniform (five points in six games), he has just one point his last seven games and has been scratched on four occasions. He’s an RFA at season’s end and wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans.
Even though the feeling wasn’t always reciprocated under the prior management regime, Reimer never wavered in his desire to be in Toronto. Lou Lamoriello has assessed neither Reimer or Jonathan Bernier are likely to be the long-term solution in net, and it looks like Bernier has zero suitors at the moment. In the Leafs’ current position in their rebuild, Lamoriello would be remiss not to collect on whatever return he can garner for Reimer — and this is certainly a “whatever you can get” return. If there’s mutual interest, the two sides could revisit Reimer’s contract demands in July when he becomes a UFA.
In the meantime, it sounds like we’ll get a few looks at the likes of Garret Sparks and/or Antoine Bibeau as management looks to evaluate their options within the organization at the position.
Lou Lamoriello: We need to take a look at our minor-league goaltenders who are playing extremely well. As you all know, we have the best team, in our opinion, in the American Hockey League and we’ve had the best tandem there. We have to take a look at Garret Sparks right now. How he performed when he did come up earlier – it’s something that’s the real thing. We’re going to have to find out about Bibeau. These are all things that are in the process and you can’t do it when you have two goaltenders here in the NHL. I can remember back many years ago when we had to find out about a goaltender in the minors in New Jersey and it seemed to work out pretty well. You never know unless they’re given the opportunity. The only way you get an opportunity is if there’s a space available for that. The timing is you go as far as you can until you have to do that, especially when you have a quality player and a quality person as we had in Reimer. This is the best that could come about at this point.
The technical details below:
No salary retention in SJ/TOR deal
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 27, 2016
Ben Smith Career Stats:
|2014-15||San Jose Sharks||NHL||19||2||3||5||0|
|2015-16||San Jose Sharks*||NHL||6||0||0||0||0|
|2015-16||San Jose Barracuda||AHL||14||8||2||10||4|
Alex Stalock Career Stats:
|2006-07||U. of Minnesota-Duluth||WCHA||23||4||12||1364||76||1||3.34||5||14||3||560||0.881|
|2007-08||U. of Minnesota-Duluth||WCHA||36||2||8||2170||85||3||2.35||13||17||6||899||0.914|
|2008-09||U. of Minnesota-Duluth||WCHA||42||1||10||2534||90||5||2.13||21||13||8||1094||0.924|
|2010-11||San Jose Sharks||NHL||1||0||0||30||0||0||0||1||0||0||9||1|
|2012-13||San Jose Sharks||NHL||2||0||0||42||2||0||2.86||0||0||1||11||0.846|
|2013-14||San Jose Sharks||NHL||24||0||2||1252||39||2||1.87||12||5||2||532||0.932|
|2014-15||San Jose Sharks||NHL||22||0||2||1237||54||2||2.62||8||9||2||499||0.902|
|2015-16||San Jose Barracuda||AHL||2||0||0||122||4||0||1.96||2||0||0||53||0.93|
|2015-16||San Jose Sharks||NHL||13||1||0||670||33||0||2.94||3||5||0||252||0.884|