Big guy

James Reimer has come under some scrutiny this season, no? He was labelled as a guy to be on Bust Watch 2012 and after a pretty good start which ended in a concussion he’s had an interesting ebb and flow to his season. Fast forward to now and he’s 11-8-4 as a co-star in Toronto’s whipping boy goaltending duo. I’d argue he hasn’t given up a goal as bad as the one Jonas Gustavsson let in to hand New Jersey a win two nights ago (read: they’ve all been shots on goal), but he has had his problems.

For what it’s worth, I think Reimer will figure it out eventually. I don’t think he’s Andrew Raycroft. I don’t think he’s Steve Mason. He’s sure as hell not Jim Carey (though I love him so). When I watch Reimer I see a guy with boatloads of natural ability – he is fantastic tracking the puck and staying square to the shooter – and the right demeanor. I think he is an NHL goaltender. I think he will be a good NHL goaltender. If I end up being wrong so be it, but I see a ton of intangibles in Reimer that translate into good goaltending. For a guy with just 11 wins he has three shutouts – that means something to me.

Here is his post game scrum after a 2-1 loss to San Jose.

Say what you want about his reaction but I think it’s one of the reasons he has the right demeanor to survive in the pros and in Toronto nonetheless. Talk to anyone close to Reimer and they’ll talk about his level headedness, his easy going personality and that to me sounds like a guy that can handle the scrutiny of the center of the universe. It’s a stark contrast from goalies of Leafs past like Raycroft, Vesa Toskala, Mikael Tellqvist and even Gustavsson who visibly struggled with their confidence and image. From day one we’ve seen the exact same James Reimer on the ice, in the scrum and away from the rink.

He’s not worried and he shouldn’t be. The Leafs may go out and get a goalie now, but Reimer will figure it out, win back the fans and we’ll forget about this whole little episode. Be it this year or down the road,the Optimus Reim who was so intriguing a year ago will be back. I’m willing to bet on that one.