Skip to Main Content

Leafs' Reimer expects opportunity to claim No. 1 job @NHLdotcom

James Reimer has no intention of coming to training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a backup goaltender.

Reimer joined The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet's Fan 590 radio station in Toronto on Monday to talk about the two-year, $4.6 million contract he signed recently and said he expects to compete with Jonathan Bernier for the starting job.

"I was told there's a definite opportunity," Reimer said. "That's the mindset I'm coming in with, to really take advantage of the opportunity that's been given and earn the No. 1 spot."


Offseason top 200 fantasy ranks Fantasy Staff
With many players changing addresses over the past few weeks, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen have put together their offseason top 200 fantasy hockey player rankings. READ MORE ›

Reimer was the team's starting goaltender in 2012-13, going 19-8-5 with a .924 save percentage to help the Maple Leafs reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2003-04. Bernier and Reimer split time in 2013-14, with Bernier gradually assuming the title of "No. 1 guy," but an injury left Reimer in net at the end of the season.

Despite having a better save percentage than Bernier after the Olympic break (Reimer was at .909 and Bernier at .904), some people in Toronto blamed Reimer's performance during the Maple Leafs' late-season collapse. There were multiple reports of the Maple Leafs possibly being interested in other goaltenders, notably Martin Brodeur, which would have almost certainly led to Reimer landing on a new team.

"It felt like things were heading in a different direction," Reimer said. "Over the course of the summer, things kind of changed and obviously signing the two-year contract it has taken a 180-[degree turn] from there. I'm really excited about coming back. It's not a case where I wanted to leave. I just thought, like I said, that things were kind of done there. I'm really excited to have another opportunity and kind of a new start there."

This will be Reimer's fifth season in the NHL. He's had two very good seasons (he had a .921 save percentage as a rookie in 2010-11 and the .924 in 2012-13). The other two included a major injury (concussion in 2011-12) and the competition with Bernier last season.

Bernier's increased playing time, plus Randy Carlyle's "just okay" assessment of Reimer after a game in late March led to speculation that there was a rift between the coach and his goaltender. Reimer told the Toronto radio station he didn't see it that way.

"I think it was blown a little out of proportion," Reimer said. "Lots of people have asked me about Randy and what I think of him, and in all honesty I've always defended him.

"I think maybe we didn't see eye-to-eye last year, but that has no bearing on his ability to coach or what he can do with the team. Sometimes you just don't see eye-to-eye and that's the way things go, but I have a lot of respect for him and I think he's a great coach."

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.