Sharks’ James Reimer thought he would survive Maple Leafs’ overhaul

San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talks about the luxury of having goaltender James Reimer.

James Reimer figured he was going to be a part of the turnaround with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The impending unrestricted free agent goaltender had spent his entire NHL career in Toronto so he was a bit blindsided when he was dealt to the San Jose Sharks prior to the trade deadline last month.

“I don’t think I want to get into all the details, but I had the feeling I would stick around in Toronto,” the former Leafs goaltender told Pierre LeBrun of “I didn’t get the feeling at all that I’d be going somewhere. So I was a little surprised when it happened. But at the same time, I wasn’t shocked. You know the situation Toronto is in. I guess they felt they were building for the future and get some pieces.”


Reimer, 28, has fit in quite well since his trade to San Jose, winning three of his four starts while registering a stellar .952 save percentage with a 1.27 goals-against average.

“It’s a lot different, obviously,” Reimer said. “You have to take into perspective the two organizations are in two totally different places. 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.

“But it’s a different situation here right now — just a really good, really solid, talented and experienced team. You just go down the list of all-stars on this team. They’ve won a lot of games here in the past and had a lot of success. Just the leadership and confidence here in terms of heading into any game and knowing there’s a good chance to win. It’s a different mindset for sure.”

The transition was especially seamless due to a handful of familiar faces on the Sharks roster, including a pair of former Toronto teammates — defenceman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling — and assistant coach Steve Spott, who previously worked for the Maple Leafs in the same role.

“It was kind of funny. I’m thinking I may never see them again, who knows,” he said. “All of sudden, a couple of days later, here we are.

“I have a lot of respect for (Spott) and got along with him really well last year. I think he’s a really good coach. To have him here and know how he works, that’s made it easier.”

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