The lockout is finally over and we can all stop worrying about the league's problems and start focusing on where the Leafs stand coming into this 2013 season (because the season really didn't happen at all in 2012).
One of the biggest concerns for the Leafs is between the pipes. Right now James Reimer looks to be the number 1 guy, although based on my twitter feed, some people want and/or think Ben Scrivens' time is now or is soon and that we ought to start looking at him more. There has also certainly been a lot of talk about Luongo coming to Toronto and that certainly is one possible solution to the Leafs goaltending dilemma. I, however, am starting to think that this could be the perfect season for James Reimer.
If we take a look back to the 1994-95 season, most starting goalies played somewhere between 35 and 40 games, some played just over 30. A handful of guys like Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek played more than 40 but Reimer is obviously no Roy or Hasek. So generally, that's what we can expect from starting NHL goalies this season.
Look back to Reimer's first season with the Leafs in the 2010-2011 season. He played in 37 games going 20-10-5. With that he posted an impressive 0.921 save percentage and a solid GAA of 2.60. Those there are some quality numbers. Fast forward to his second year where plays in 34 games and he goes 14-14-4 posting a .900 save percentage and a 3.10 GAA. Clearly those numbers aren't nearly as impressive and won't take you to the playoffs. Let's post an asterisk here though. In only the sixth game of the year (after starting 4-0-1) Reimer was injured with a concussion missing close to 20 games and later suffered a neck injury that ended his season late. And on top of all this the Leafs were a mess and well, we know how that story unfolds.
It's been 10 months since Reimer played in his last NHL game, and while that is quite a while, it has given him a lot of time to recover, train, and prepare for this season. 35-40 games could be right in his wheelhouse to post some terrific numbers and could be just what he needs to really develop into an elite goaltender in the NHL. I think if he can be injury free there is a good chance he can return to his pre-concussion play and give the Leafs a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Hell, at age 24 (not to mention 6'2 over 200 pounds), he very well could be our goalie of the future, and with that, eliminating the need for Luongo potentially.
So this season, especially leading up to opening day, is going to be very exciting. We don't know necessarily who will start between the pipes for Toronto, but I'm pulling for Reimer.
What does the rest of the PPP gang think?