Where to go from here?
First, there was Jonas Gustavsson — The Monster — who came to us with the proviso that he was “the best goaltender outside the National Hockey League.”
Turns out, he was. In the same way that Fabian Brunnstrom was “the best player outside the NHL” when Toronto was courting him. Today Brunnstrom, who signed in Dallas, is on Detroit’s farm in Grand Rapids.
Gustavsson has stayed in the league, but he’s nowhere near the franchise goalie Toronto hoped he could be.
Then arrived James Reimer, from nowhere, really. A fourth-round draft pick from Morweena, Man. The way he played in the second half of last season, Leafs Nation assessed, he’d give Toronto more than enough in goal to make the playoffs in 2011-12.
So general manager Brian Burke signed Reimer to a modest three-year deal, only to watch him slump to a 60th-ranked save percentage in the NHL this season.
Reimer’s game remains inconsistent, leaving Burke to wonder if he has enough goaltending to reach the playoffs. Never mind beating anyone once the Leafs get there.
Where does he go with his goaltending?
“I don’t know,” Burke told sportsnet.ca Wednesday. “It’s a fair question.”
The Maple Leafs will investigate the goaltending market, though we do not see them making a major deadline trade to bring in a Jonathan Bernier, Cory Schneider (who’s not available) or Ben Bishop. (Remember the last time Toronto was this desperate to shore up its goaltending? The Leafs gave up Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft, a trade they’re still suffering from.)’