Monsters and Robots: The Goaltending Situation in Toronto

Through his first five games and four starts of this season, Jonas Gustavsson has ac*umulated three wins and sports unimpressive numbers at 3.85GAA and a .886 save%. His first 2 outings were shaky and The Monster seemed nervously out of place. With Reimer’s ever extending absence from the Leafs net, it’s anyone’s guess how long Toronto will have to lean on its backup tender. Despite his slow star, however, Gus seems to have settled down in net and has been making spectacular saves at key times to keep the Leafs in games. Over his last two starts, Jonas is 2-0-0, with a 2.50GAA and an impressive .925 save%.

Could the Maple Leafs have an unexpected challenge to their number one spot between the irons?

The short answer is no. Reimer’s numbers have been great: 4-0-1 in games he finished, with a 2.58GAA .912 save%, including one shutout. What’s perhaps more important than Reimer’s stats is his penchant to make key saves at critical moments in game. But when can we expect him back, and will he be at 100%?

We could blame it, as Wilson has, on Jonas’ language barrier, but no one can ignore Gustavsson’s comment referring to Reimer’s injury as a concussion. We heard it, we can’t unhear it. Originally slated to miss a single game, Reimer has now missed four outings. Concussions can result in anything from being ignored, to season ending, and with the Leaf’s dependence on stability in goal to propel them to the W column, Reimer’s injury, whatever it may actually be, is a huge problem. Enter The Monster.

Gus’s improving play – most notably how much more comfortable he looks in net – could cause some controversy. The Leafs were somewhat lucky to get away with any points in their first two games without Reimer (read: the backup sucked), but apparently a little confidence goes a long way. Before the arrival and rise of Reimer last season, the blue and white seemed to give up on games they could have won, simply because of bad goaltending – confidence is a heck of a thing. That all changed, dramatically, when saviour James took his first trip to T dot.

If Optimus Reim is forced to sit out more games, Gus will only be depended upon in a greater capacity. If his play –along with that of the rest of the Leafs – keeps up, and the wins keep on coming, The Monster could make a case for more time between the pipes. I’m sure the whole of leafs nation is holding their breath on Reimer returning, but for the time being, the net seems secure with Jonas Gustavsson.


1) Ron Wilson is quoted claiming that Phaneuf is, by far, the best D in the league, presently. The organization says his scoring chances are off the charts for a defender, and his plus minus and points tell us a lot. Do you think this title is deserved? Is he really the best at his position in the league right now? If not, who is?

2) You don’t have to tell Leafs fans – or anyone else right now – how hot Kessel has been. Leading the league in points (by a 3pt margin) and goals (one more than Neal), Kessel looks comfortable with his linemates – particularly Connoly against the Penguins – and is on pace for a career year. What do you project his point totals will be, come season’s end?

3) If his play continues, how many games should Gustuvsson get this season (providing Reimer hypothetically comes back within a week or so)? Should he only play backup time, 15-25 games? Or maybe a slightly heavier work load, such as 20-35? Or should they split the work load and create some fierce competition, with 30-40+ games going to The Monster?


18 Responses to Monsters and Robots: The Goaltending Situation in Toronto

  1. dumbassdoorman says:

    Based in the third goal, Gus should not play much more. Goals like that kill any confidence his teammates have in him. Brutal just brutal, that is all i can say.

  2. senators_choke says:

    Agreed, Gus is up and down like the weather. Not as reliable as Reimer.

  3. mojo19 says:

    The Monster is a fine back up, and he's doing the type of job an NHL back up should be capable of doing with Reimer being hurt. He's earning some wins, making some big saves, but letting in the odd soft goal. So I would keep him in around 18-22 games (If Reimer were healthy today).

    I actually wouldn't even mind seeing Scrivens get a start soon if Reimer isn't healthy soon.

    As for Phaneuf, he has easily been the best d-man in the league this season and  a major reason why Toronto has been so tough to beat. Carl Gunnarsson, is an underrated calming force. His poise is unbelievable and he has shined with Dion.

    Phil Kessel will finish the season with a total of: 45 goals, and 41 assists for 86 points, and wind up in the top 7 or 8 in scoring.

  4. dumbassdoorman says:

    I agree with your last two points, I believe Phil will be in the top 10 for sure. Phaneuf is playing lights out, but logging too much ice time for my liking. Hopefully other guys start to play better, so he can play less.

     As far as Gus goes, I don't know, too many soft goals IMO. I am only talking from a fans perspective, but that's how I think most see it. I really and truly still believe we need a solid vetern back-up. Gus' odd soft goal will be killers if Reimer is out for a long period or in the playoffs.

  5. dumbassdoorman says:

    On a seperate note anyone think all this crap about Torres Jay-Z costume is just stupid? I mean nobody said anything when a black Dwayne Wade went as Justin Timberlake…….seems to be about the samething to me.

  6. Boston_Bruins says:

    I personally don't find it offensive at all, but he's gotta know that blackface is considered offensive in society in general.

  7. dumbassdoorman says:

    Oh I understand that I just hate the hypocricy of some, like I said nobody sain boo when Dwayne Wade did his costume, really is there a difference? Not to mention he went as somebody specific.

  8. Boston_Bruins says:

    I think it's more because of the history of blackface is minstrel and vaudeville shows where it definitely was racist. Torres obviously never meant to offend anyone and the thought that he was referencing shows from the 19th century is ridiculous, but you've always gotta be careful when you're in the spotlight because of how touchy society is.

  9. mojo19 says:

    I agree that Gus lets in some softies, but look around the league, even that "veteran back up" you speak of lets those in.

    Marty Turco, JS Giguere, these are guys who had great careers who are now back ups, and I'm not sure either one of them is a definite upgrade on the Monster at this point. Consistent goaltenders are few and far between. I think the bar needs to be set a bit lower for a back up goaltender.

    Ty Conklin, Johan Hedberg, all these guys are prone to those bad breaks, and these types of goalies are generally exploited when starters go down and they're forced to take the bulk of the work load. There is a reason why they are back ups. Gustavsson fits the bill just fine, he is among those other back ups.

  10. Kessel_Leafs48 says:

    something that annoyed me is how i heard people saying "wow leafs always do good off the start then suck"  not saying we'll keep up this pace the whole season but,  the 3 years before last season the leafs sucked off the start and thats what killed them in the long run ? just last season they actually won a couple games in the start and then played brutal which killed us in the long run also.. the fact that were still playing well and winning games going into november is a bright spot for the leafs and hopefully were going to be more consistant! remember too.. leafs have not lost a game with reimer starting in regulation yet this year.

  11. JoelLeafs says:

    When people talk about the leafs getting off to a good start in the two previous outings, it makes me questions their claim to knowledge. going 3-0-0 is great, but what happened over the next ten games? In each of the previous two campaigns the leafs went through 8 game losing streaks early on. 3-5 games is not a start 10-15 is. Yes, the leafs probably won't stay in the top 3 of the conference all year, but if they stay around .500 (which, I think, is well within their reach as a team) they could still make the playoffs. I'm hoping they stay this hot all year, but I'm a realist, this pace can't keep up.

    With all the surprises near the top of the East (Florida, Ottawa, Toronto) as well as  the bottom (Boston, Ranger, arguably MTL) the playoff picture could get real tight as the season draws out. All the points going to the former group, you have to think more teams than usual may be scrambling for points after the x-mas break.

  12. Kessel_Leafs48 says:

    agreed! november is a relatively easy month for the least with the only big competition being the struggling bruins and st.louis, and washington within the first 3 weeks, the leafs can realistically keep this pace up for the next 3 weeks and really be surprising, and then after that when the games get harder, hopefully play .500 hockey and can still be set for a playoff push. the next three weeks they have to perform well and the most important thing is to not let points from weaker teams slip away.

  13. JoelLeafs says:

    Are you black?

  14. dumbassdoorman says:

    Who me?

  15. Boston_Bruins says:

    No. Why?

  16. JoelLeafs says:

    Well when you claimed you weren't offended, I assumed you meant because you were black. 

    Not that it can't be offensive to whitey too, but I think the point of blackface being offensive is that it's offensive to black people. 
  17. dumbassdoorman says:

    If you are talking to me, you will note I pointed out that nobody who claimed offence now, did so when Dwayne Wade dressed as an opposite colour star. If it is towards Bruins, I took from what he wrote that he felt there was no intent to offend.

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