Toronto Maple Leafs: Goaltending Dilemma
By: Aaron Greenfield
Mike Babcock mentioned in one of his first press conferences as Leafs head coach that he wants “a number one goalie” and “doesn’t want the headaches and sleepless nights from not having a number one”. And so, it appeared, Jonathan Bernier had once again been given full rights to the cage. However, following a 0-7-1 start, it appears his days as the Leafs starting goalie are numbered. Fresh off being named the NHL’s third star of the week, going 3-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA and .952 SV%, James Reimer has emerged as the new starting goalie for the Leafs.
What frustrates Leafs fans is not how many goals but the nature of the goals that went past Bernier in his latest start, a 4-3 loss in regulation to the New York Rangers. Bernier allowed a weak goal from centre ice from Derek Stepan late in the 2nd period with the score tied 1-1.
Then with the game tied and the game destined for overtime, he allows a bad rebound on a soft point shot from Ryan McDonagh, leading to an easy game-winning goal for Mats Zuccarello, Bernier now has one of the worst numbers of all NHL goalies, and remains winless on the season.
It makes for a nice story, as long your name isn’t Jonathan Bernier, as Reimer has had to battle from the moment he first put on a Leafs sweater for crease-time, and there were many times it appeared his days as a Leaf were over. But for now, “Optimus Reim” has won that battle and he looks to ride this momentum into the coming weeks.
Reimer’s contract is up at the end of this year while Bernier’s is up at the end of 2017; currently his trade value couldn’t be lower, while Reimer’s trade value has skyrocketed. Many took to Twitter suggesting the Leafs should trade Reimer, because Bernier would be more help to the team’s tank effort. And while those were tweeted humorously, it still begs the question: Which netminder should the Leafs part with, if they do decide to trade one?
Leave a comment if you think the Leafs should trade one of their goalies at the deadline and if so, who you would trade.