Stoney Point - July 1, 2014 - Towards the end of last season, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle made it clear that Jonathan Bernier was his number one goaltender. As such, it is not surprising that James Reimer has requested a trade out of Toronto, as he believes he is worthy of that same status.
Yesterday, former Montreal Canadiens rearguard Josh Gorges refused to waive his no-trade clause to go to Toronto. It is rumored that the Buds were willing to part with Cody Franson as part of that deal.
It is now possible that Franson and Reimer may get packaged together but there is a limited number of teams that would have interest in Reimer. Today, the Calgary Flames signed Jonas Hiller and the Vancouver Canucks landed Ryan Miller. Here are five possible destinations for Reimer:
The Jets have probably been the most talked about team for Reimer's new home. Winnipeg currently only had Ondrej Pavalec listed on their website under goaltenders. Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian or Mark Scheifle are intriguing names on Winnipeg's roster.
Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper are the current goaltenders in the Wild’s stable. Nino Niederreiter and prospect Tyler Graovac are both big bodied players who would fit in nicely in Toronto.
As mentioned, longtime Anaheim starter Hiller has now moved on to Calgary. That leaves John Gibson, Frederik Andersen or Jason Labarbera as the leading minute guy. While there is no obvious player that the Ducks might send in return, these two teams have often been dance partners.
When the Ryan Miller experiment didn't work in St. Louis, it was evident that the Blues would be needing a goaltender. The early indications suggest that Brian Elliott will be the "go-to" guy with former Canadian Junior star Jake Allen also in the system. It appears that Allen is the goalie of the future in St. Louis. Reimer might be a good addition to buy Allen some time to get NHL ready. This scenario seems unlikely as the Blues and the Buds recently made a trade and if both sides were motivated to involve Reimer, it likely would have already happened.
The Buffalo Sabres might be the least likely of these five destinations because they are in the same division as the Maple Leafs. However, the Sabres have made a number of moves recently that suggest that they are looking to improve. Jonas Enroth, Michael Neuvirth, or Matt Hackett may not be the right fit in Buffalo. Tyler Ennis or Tyler Myers might look good in Blue and White.
What is clear is that James Reimer does not want to remain in Toronto. Once a player has lost his desire to play for your team, I believe it is time to move him out. An NHL ready or a promising prospect will both be useful to the Leafs. No matter what he does, GM Dave Nonis will be second guessed.