If Bernier’s for real, trading James Reimer might make sense

If Bernier turned out to be what he is at least beginning to appear to be — if he turned out to be what Lombardi says he expects him to become, which is an elite NHL starter — it’s worth thinking about what it could mean for the Leafs.
It could turn them into something they haven’t been since they employed the likes of Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph. It could put them in a position where they could play five games, not perform particularly well in any of them, and string together four wins. It could mean the Maple Leafs explore a trade that includes James Reimer, since there’s no point in keeping around a perfectly deal-able No. 1-calibre talent when you’ve got holes in the lineup. There are plenty of teams looking for goaltenders and defencemen — heck, one will be at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night. Wouldn’t a package of Reimer and the still-not-extended Dion Phaneuf render a choice young asset from, say, the Oilers?

If you want to irritate a hockey coach, of course, begin trade discussions around key pieces.

“Competition for the position brings the best out of pro athletes,” Carlyle said Friday, offering a window into why he doesn’t like to anoint a No. 1. “I believe that. Some people might not believe that. I believe that.”


56 Responses to If Bernier’s for real, trading James Reimer might make sense

  1. leafy says:

    Exciting game again tonight. The Leafs can certainly fill the net with pucks, but really need to improve the defensive side of the game.

    What’s wrong with Franson? Playing nowhere near as good as last year. Maybe missing most of the preseason has hurt.

    I thought Raymond looked really good again. Has anybody noticed that little play we makes when he gains the blueline at the side boards, then stops suddenly and turns around 270 degrees and then makes pass? That was a Gretzky trademark play and Raymond does it really well.

    Kadri was back in form again. Fairly solid playing with Lupul…who by the way is as prolific a goal scorer as anyone in the NHL right now.

    • leafmeister says:

      Franson was pretty bad last night, even though he played a big role in a couple of goals. He really needs to work on his skating.

      It’s really good to see Kadri get a solid start out of the gate. With all of the talk of his inevitable regression to the mean a slow start would have killed his confidence. I wouldn’t say he’s been great, but he’s chipping in.

      Something about Toronto must just click well with Lupul. He plays well here no matter who he plays with.

      • leafy says:

        How about this stat: Going back to last season when he returned from injury in mid-March, Lupul has 16 goals in his last 18 games!!!

        Kadri is fine. So far, 6 points in 6 games in nothing to sneeze at.

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya Leafy, Raymond is a fantastic skater, it really opens up the ice for him in tight spaces. He’s great in the offensive zone, he’s so tenacious, all over the loose pucks. Great pick up, and for $1 million – what a cap buster.

      Just think, Ottawa is paying more than triple for MacArthur, I’d take Raymond over MacArthur any day.

  2. TmLeafan says:

    I agree a hugely entertaining game. How sick does JVR look this season? No way he scores less than 30 this year the way he has been going. He’s signed for the next 6 years at 4.25 mil, such a good contract. What a trade by Burke.

    Excited about our 1st line with him and Kessel locked up long term.

  3. LN91 says:

    Bozak is really struggling in the faceoff circle…Isn’t that why we signed him?

    • leafy says:

      We need a faceoff guy for sure.

    • toronto77 says:

      I am one of the biggest Phaneuf and Bozak haters on here and I have to admit that I am really impressed with Phaneuf, he is playing a much more simple game and still chipping in, perhaps the offense of Gardiner and Rielly are taking the pressure off of Phaneuf Offensively.

      I still stand as a Bozak hater though, I like him on the face/off and on the PK, 5 on 5 he is not a top centremen on any team in this league.

  4. toronto77 says:

    I am skeptical on trading Reimer, if Bernier gets the no.1, we should keep Reimer around as a back up for the playoffs. I would be terrified if MacIntyre had to be the backup.

    Though Bernier is better than Reimer, Reimer is still a pretty good no.1 depending on what team he plays for. Having said that, if we keep him around any longer, a lot of teams will be asking for Reimer. If we trade him at all we should trade him at the deadline, as there a more desperate teams at that time and selling prices go up. Reimer packaged with Bozak and something else should bring us back a really good no.1 centre.

  5. mojo19 says:

    I gotta say this about Kadri. Many have pointed out that he hasn’t had a great year. This is true, but he put up a couple points last night, and a few points in that game vs. Ottawa. I don’t mind if he’s going to be invisible from time to time, and if Carlyle decides that some games he’s going to really amp up the McClement and Bolland minutes and limit Kadri. But there are going to be some games where Kadri comes in and puts the puck in the net and creates offence.

    Even my least favourite player, Bozak, who routinely misses passes or throws the puck away in the offensive zone when we get some good pressure on – has a lot of value on the team. He back checked really hard last game broke up some plays, and was generally really good on his own side of centre, which is why Carlyle is so comfortable using him so much.

    We might not have the ideal situation at centre, but Carlyle has an interesting mix of 4 guys to choose from for different situations and it seems to be leading to success.

    • mojo19 says:

      As far as the faceoffs are concerned… ya Kadri, Bozak, these guys need to be better, Bolland has been alright, and McClement is usually pretty solid. I haven’t looked at any stats, so let me know if I’m way off on Bolland, but I think he’s been our best.

      Anyway’s maybe we should look at bringing in some outside help, like a Tom Fitzgerald. He was brought in by the Penguins during the playoffs a few years back because they were getting killed on draws, and he worked at the time as a specialist, just working on faceoff techniques in practice.

      Another option would be to sign Manny Malholtra. What is the status on this guy? I know he’s been banged up, but if he’s healthy enough to play, maybe we should look at signing him. He’s a faceoff dynamo, and feels like a guy Carlyle could really get good use out of as a 4th line C.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Last night was our sloppiest game of the year, and Bernier wasn’t exactly lights out (that Eberle goal was ugly), but I think one thing we demonstrated is that we have a lot of fight in us.

    My youngest brother pointed out as we were heading to OT, that in the last few years when the Leafs were trailing late in the 3rd, he was just used to us losing, had no expectations of a comeback, just kind of a faint hope, but not expecting anything. But with this group, we have a ton of fight in us, and you can never rule us out!

    This is the mark of a winning team. To see us complete that comeback against a team we really should beat, was nice. It was similar against Ottawa, we’ve just shown a ton of heart. You gotta be encouraged by this team right now.

    • LN91 says:

      Well, they better turn it around…Or they wont be a winning team by the All-Star break.

    • toronto77 says:

      besides the Nashville game, we were down at some point in the game in all of our wins and managed to battle back, great character.

      I didn’t actually watch the edmonton game, how did Rielly play? I noticed he didn’t get a single point, was he as impressive as he was in Nashville?

  7. mojo19 says:

    As far as this article is concerned – I firmly believe that Bernier is for real. He looks fantastic overall. Love his positioning, and how calm he is, and the rebound control, the ability to play the puck, this guy is just the whole package.

    But having said all that, I would be in no rush to move Reimer. It never hurts to have that kind of insurance, if we’re heading into the playoffs this year, it would be good to have two good goalies. But if the right deal presents itself, sure pull the trigger.

    • leafy says:

      I also think Bernier is for real, but let’s not write off Reimer just yet. Let’s not forget Reimer was truly outstanding last year. Probably not fully appreciated by Leaf fans. Everybody talks about the rebounds but I think that’s greatly exaggerated.

  8. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Two quality goalies is never a bad thing. The D will get better with time. ranger and Rielly are improving game by game. Leafs need a quality d-man but are not desperate for one. If a quality “hockey trade” can happen that improves the D, then I would be for it.

  9. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Is anyone else happy to see Dallas Eakins leave Toronto after last Saturday? I don’t understand Eakins, during his interview with Freedman he boasted that other teams haven’t implemented data into their athletes which is all well and good but then you look at his the culture he’s introduced to Edmonton of eating clean (no more donuts even in the press room) and it makes me question his understanding of fitness. The amount of high intensity cardio an NHL does, I’d expect them to eat at least 5000 calories a day minimum just for maintenance, no one is going to do that on clean food without it becoming a distraction in day to day life to the point it’d interfere with their profession.

    Look at say Michael Phelps eating 10 000 calories a day, it was what he needed to perform, he did on junk food because it’s good high energy fuel. Then looking at Dallas Eakins he looks like a twink that’s never completed a successful bulk in his life. He’s 6’2, 196lbs, that’s not exactly impressive, hell half the guys I go the gym with are significantly better than that and we workout as a hobby.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Hah that’s actually so ridiculous. At the level of fitness those guys are at, you can literally eat what ever the hell you want. Get enough protein and enough carbs and who cares. I can understand strict meals on games days to maximize energy but who cares if 20 year old toothpick ryan nugent-hopkins mucks a couple big macs on his off days. Maybe Franson doesn’t ragdoll in him over time.

      That said I like Eakins. I’d never take him over Carlyle, but he was a solid development coach.

    • leafy says:

      Yeah Eakins clearly doesn’t understand nutrition and basic human physiology for that matter.

      • leafs_wallace93 says:

        He’s taking a scientific approach to nutrition and physiology, it’s actually a huge debate between ‘broscience’ (applied results) and a pure scientific approach (theory). Whatever you think of Eakins you can’t deny that he’s experimental and the ‘data’ he’s pumping into his athletes is yet to yield enough results to draw a conclusion.

        So many people uncritically turn to ‘experts’ of fitness despite the reality that everyone has a unique genetic make up. Eakins is also of the crossfit school, again hardly the best approach across the board for athletes.

        When Dallas Eakins cracks 210lbs lean (as any 6’2 man should) he can begin the benefit of the doubt on my end, until then he’s another loser ectomorph in my books.

      • doorman says:

        Actually he does know about fitness, period. Yes at the level they are at donuts won’t in theory affect their fitness. However, what you eat does directly affect the type of energy you have. So just because a sprinter wolfs down a few Mars bars before a race doesn’t make it a staple in his diet.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          A carb is a carb, it’s a macronutrient, people eat fruits and veggies for micronutrients. Mars bar & donuts > banana for fuel.

          When you factor in at least half (probably 90% though) of Eakin’s athletes are on the gear what good are his ‘fitness tests’? It’s not like he can professionally give a test program to someone who is juiced, especially given players will likely have different stacks.

          Again, IMO Eakins is getting exposed in his big league gig but he’s got the bravado, I’ll give him that.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    I was at the game on Saturday. The entire team was brutal on their half of the rink.

    This includes all 6 D and 12 forwards and goalie. No one should be happy with their game or with how they played. No one should be gushing about how great Kadri, Reilly, Dion, Kessel, Bernier were playing on saturday. The mistakes were excessive.

    The entire team was a giveaway machine. They are really struggling with the clean, simple breakout of their zone. Too many forwards are cheating. When you have 2 of your D playing the wrong side, one D is a teenager and another hasnt played in 4 years and another has just started again after holding out at camp, you need to help them out.

    The passes are too long. instead of 5-8 foot passes, they are more 15-20 foot passes. the home run passes look pretty and if it works, its great, but its becoming predictable.

    Its easy to get away with it vs the Oilers who are just dreadful (more on them later) but best not have those habits vs the east.

    That being said, the team showed grit, determination and heart to come back. Good on them. Good character builder. But, Carlyle will have much to work on over the next while. Lots of games at home so hopefully they’ll get practice time.

    Offensively, the team can generate. Carlyle spread it out a bit more and now has 3 lines that can score. Can’t wait for Kulemin and Clarkson to be back to add even more balance, but give some lines some size, grit and defensive smarts.

    At least now, the Leafs have Bernier who when on can steal games, and i think Reimer is capable of that too.

    Back to the Oil, they are dreadful and its mainly goaltending. The young Oilers will be crippled unless they get a world class goalie to be their backbone. Right now, they have zero confidence in DD or Labarbera.

    Dubnyk is just awful. He is the wrong goalie for that team. I can see him succeeding on a team like Phoenix or St Louis who have strict, defence first, no chances given up styles of play. But on an Oil team that has poor D and forwards who are small, soft and not attentive on D, they are going to need a ton of strong goaltending to bail them out. Not give up 10 goals in 2 games on 56 shots. Thats a .821 Save Percentage. That is horrid.

    This could take a long while to straighten things out in Edmonton.

    • leafy says:

      I fully agree Nords. The errors are worrisome.

      On the other hand, I think this is something that can be fixed. I’d be way more worried if they didn’t make any mistakes and couldn’t score.

      How many of you remember the 1998-99 season? That year (CuJo’s first with the Leafs) the team played terrible defensively in the first 2 months, but as the season went on, they gradually fixed their defensive game but continued scoring. This year’s team kind of reminds me of that season.

  11. mojo19 says:

    I’m going to the game tonight and Thursday vs the Canes. Owwwwooooo!!!

    GO LEAFS GO!!!

    • doorman says:

      ok, I am jealous….but did you take out a loan so you could buy a couple beers?

      • mojo19 says:

        Haha, 2nd mortgage. But man, those beers…

        I’m standing at the back of the ACC on Thursday, $50 ticket. Can’t complain. I stood there before a couple years ago, it’s not a bad option for a cheaper ticket.

    • leafy says:

      I’m jealous too. I wanna go to Thursday’s game.

      Saturday is a big test for the Leafs against the Stanley cup champs.

      • mojo19 says:

        Ya, we should beat the Hurricanes. There are no gimmies in this league, but we should beat the Hurricanes, ideally. And then if we do, ya Saturday will be a big test against the Hawks. I imagine Dave Bolland will have an inspired game, and probably be matched up a lot against his old captain.

        On a related note, loved how much action Bolland and McClement got tonight against Zach Parise’s line. They really kept Parise’s open space to a minimum in our end.

        McClement and Gunnarsson were the key to tonight’s win, along with Reimer’s strong play, as we killed off all those early penalties and weathered the storm. Jay and Carl were all out beasts out there. That 4 on 3 was a particularly huge kill, and turning point in the game.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          The guys you mentioned all had a strong game tonight. Worst game of the season for Dion, but he has been very good otherwise. I though Ranger had his best game so far, I still think he will be a good addition as he gets more comfortable.

  12. leafy says:

    Great to see Reimer baby back in the groove.

    Now this game was a classic example…if anybody but a good goalie played tonight, the Leafs would have lost.

    My vote is to keep Reimer and play him and Bernier. Mark my words, if the Leafs keep both, they will FEAST the entire regular season. Why? Because every single game, they’ll be tough to beat. No off nights against any opponent, great goaltending full year round.

    • mojo19 says:

      I have to agree with you at this point Leafy. Reimer was excellent tonight. And is it just me or was he playing the puck more frequently, and actively than usual tonight? I think all the praise of Bernier’s puck skills will be good for the competition in goal and keep Reimer striving to be better with that element of his game.

  13. mojo19 says:

    Morgan Rielly has all the tools to be a star in this league. He looks like a Scott Niedermayer out there, the way he moves around, so effortlessly.

    I was of the mind that no matter how well he played, he should be sent back to Junior. But now I’ve changed my mind. I actually think he’s proving to be too valuable to the team to get rid of him. He would be seriously missed! If you take Rielly out of the line up and call up a Brennan or a MacWillam, we’re just not as a strong. Kid stays.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I was ok with keeping Rielly up from the start as long as he proved he is an elite talent and ready for the NHL(like Doughty was) and he continues to improve every game. He has shown he belongs IMO. Rielly/Franson has been a very good pair. Ranger is also improving and looking more comfortable out there. We still need one more RHD though and someone will have to go eventually to make it happen…whether it be Liles, Reimer, Kulimen, Gunnar..
      The kids in the bottom six have done there jobs well. Leivo, Broll, Ashton, Smith have all done there jobs and this is what a bottom six should be. It should be a few veterans mixed in with low priced, energetic kids who will bust their ass just to stay on the team. As I have said, as long as the kids prove they can play, Kulimen and his $2.8 mil UFA contract become moveable for another piece(i.e 4-6 RHD defenceman).
      I would rather keep Reimer unless the deal is right to improve the team now.

      • mojo19 says:

        But I think a big reason why we have had so many bad stretches is because of all the Marlies in the line up.

        Leivo was not very good yesterday, Broll didn’t play much. I think we need to get Kulemin, JVR, and Clarkson healthy and in there, and just hope that these kids can do what they’ve done, which is a pretty good job coming up for injuries. I don’t think you wanna roll with this many Marlies in the line up all year. So you trade Kulemin, then JVR goes down with a more serious injury, then Lupul gets a little banged up, and you’re screwed.

        I don’t know why, Realistic-Leaf, you are so big on making a trade involving Kulemin or Gunnarsson. It would make the team weaker.

        • doorman says:

          His eagerness, IMO to trade one of those to is simple, one he doesn’t value Gunner as much as you do, but sees him as a piece that may land you something while clearing cap room. As for Kulemin, I think and he could be like me sees him as a hard to resign impending UFA, who again clears cap space. And, i hate to say it but cap space is almost as valued as high picks these days.

          • Gambo says:

            I see what you’re saying, but you’re not going to get a huge retun for a player who is UFA at seasons end unless it’s a Kovalchuck or something. Toronto has a legitimate shot at making a run for the Cup, this is when you keep your veteran ufas and risk losing them in the summer.

            This is just my opinion, but i’d rather take a shot at the cup and lose a Kulemin type player to UFA rather than trading players like that just so you don’t lose him without getting any assets in return.

            • doorman says:

              I understand what you are saying. I by no means am saying trade them for sure, but if one need helps fill another, then by all means I am for it.

              • mojo19 says:

                What do you think we’d get for Kulemin? Probably a 2nd round pick or something? Take this team without Kulemin, wouldn’t you move a 2nd round pick at the deadline for that exact type of player? We’ve got him! We don’t need to get weaker.

                I agree with Gambo, if he has to walk in the summer to accommodate cap space for other moves, so be it. We’re not in rebuild mode anymore. We don’t need to weaken the team for futures.

                • mojo19 says:

                  As for Gunnarsson, he’d net $4 million on the open market, we have him signed at a very cap friendly $3.1 million. We drafted him, groomed him, brought him up, and have him signed at a good price. This is what good, winning teams do, and we’re finally see in the Leafs do it.

                  I’m so sick of looking around the league and seeing the best teams with a handful of their role players signed at a mil or so under market value, because of the culture those teams have created. We’re starting to become one of those teams. This is a good thing.

                  • doorman says:

                    I have never said give away or trade either player. I have only said I would trade anyone in and for the right deal, period. If the deal is right then i say pull the trigger. I like our team, but do not love it the way it makes up. So if a deal to make us stronger came along and involved either or great. If it involves others that’s fine too.

                    • mojo19 says:

                      Ya of course. But I would be in no hurry to dump a quality player for a pick just to have some cap space moving forward.

                    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                      Agreed doorman, and I never said trade Gunnar,Kuli or any other quality guy for a pick either. I said trade them to fill a need we have and actually mentioned an RHD. Good teams actually try and improve and manage their cap so they can keep a core together. Sometimes that means moving a valuable piece to get a more needed valuable piece. The bottom six already has Raymond, Bolland, McClement and Orr as veterans. Mixing in two kids on the cheap will not kill the Leafs if Kulimen could return a RHD we need. We have pretty much the highest payroll in our bottom six in the NHL…that is not a winning formula. We are not good enough yet to compete for the cup. We are lucky to be 6 and 1. I didn’t say trade them right now either. I said one of those guys will likely have to go at some point so we actually “improve” our line-up and fill a need. This team as is…does not win the cup.

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