James Reimer’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs beyond this season is up in the air, and the netminder admitted he had an uneasy feeling ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline.
“I was fairly certain that I wasn’t going anywhere, although given what was happening to goalies on trade deadline I don’t know if any goalie felt safe,” Reimer told Sportsnet 590 The Fan Friday. “It is a day where anything can happen. You always have a little bit of uneasiness.”
Reimer has been demoted to backing up Jonathan Bernier after the two split time relatively evenly early in the season. Despite a lack of action this calendar year, the 25-year-old is trying to remain positive about a situation no goalie enjoys.
“That’s the way it goes,” said Reimer. “Sometimes you’re the guy, and sometimes [coaches and management] feel otherwise. You just have to learn to make the most of it.”
The pending restricted free agent has only played once in the last 10 games—only seven times in 2014—and has been pulled several times. Earlier in the season the 99th overall pick from the 2006 draft expressed his belief that he is a No. 1 goalie.
“You always want to play more, but for me right now, that’s not in the cards. That’s not the way it’s playing out,” Reimer explained. “I’m just working on, in practice, getting better and working on things that you possibly wouldn’t have a chance to work on if you were starting most nights. When I do get called on and if there’s ever a time where they need me more, I’ll be a better goalie for it.”
The Manitoba native is 10-7-1 with a .913 save percentage and 3.20 goals-against average in 25 appearances this season.
The Leafs, who currently sit third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points (33-23-8) ended up making no moves at the trade deadline, something Reimer said the team appreciates.
“As far as not doing anything, I think we’re a confident group and we believe we have the pieces,” Reimer said. “I don’t think anyone was disappointed with the fact nothing happened. I don’t think we wanted to see anyone leave our dressing room, so I think we’re pretty happy. I definitely think we’ve got the pieces to make a run at it this year.”
The Leafs will look to build off Wednesday’s overtime win over the New York Rangers as they host the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday. It’s expected Bernier will get the start in net.