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James Reimer: 'The Leafs took a lot of good steps'

He's referring to the Leafs' play, which has undoubtedly improved under Mike Babcock.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Since being traded to the San Jose Sharks, James Reimer has played four games. He has a .952 save percentage, including two shutouts. In short: it's looking like a very good deal for San Jose, who needed to have more faith in their backup goaltender as they geared up for the playoffs.

And hey - at least the Leafs got a pick out of it.

In an interview with ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, though, Reimer confides he thought he'd actually be staying in Toronto. It wasn't necessarily shocking that he went - I'm sure everyone on the Leafs is well aware of the team's status, and that included Reimer - but he got the feeling he'd be staying.

Though when you've only played for one team your entire career, that feeling is certainly understandable.

With Reimer now departed, though, he's able to offer perhaps freer insights on his former team than he may have been before. And they're pretty positive ones:

With Toronto, I felt that from past years to this year, the Leafs took a lot of good steps in how they played this year. They played the right way, so things are definitely looking up there.

We've seen evidence of this throughout the year. Morgan Rielly, for example, has clearly grown under Mike Babcock, as has seemingly the team as a whole: a 46.4% 5v5 CF team last season, they've leaped all the way up to 51.9% this season.

That's amazing growth rarely seen year-to-year, and while the results aren't there in the standings, it's easier to see them coming in the near future as the Leafs' kids and prospects develop.

Still, it's nice to hear from an old friend that he thinks things are going well. Just one more ray of hope beaming down on this franchise.