It seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs organization is on the look out to acquire a true No.1 goalie, but is that really needed? With having James Reimer in a starting role and Ben Scrivens playing back up, just how far will the Toronto Maple Leafs be able to ride this young, unproven tandem?
The Toronto Maple Leafs will start the 2012-13 season with the expectation to make the playoffs. Whether or not they have a team that will be able to do that has yet to be seen.
What can be seen, quite easily however, is that goaltending is one of the weak spots on the team. Sure, they do not have the world class talent that the likes of Henrik Lundqvist or Pekke Rinne possess, but both Reimer and Scrivens can stop a puck when needed.
As for Reimer, he is going to try and have a bounce back season. Last year he battled through concussion-like symptoms and was not able to repeat his performance of two years ago with the Leafs. This year however, Reimer comes into the season free of injury, or lingering effects of the symptoms, and looks to finally cement himself in that No. 1 role, he tells Jonas Siegal of TSN.
"It's been a pretty clean summer," Reimer said. "I've felt pretty good the whole time and there's been no setbacks. I've been able to work hard every day and nothing to set me back so it's been really good that way. I want to come in and show that I can be the starter and that they need to look nowhere else."
Looking elsewhere for a goalie has been what the Leafs have been doing this whole offseason, trying to bring in what they feel is a true No. 1.
Even though GM Brian Burke has expressed faith in his young goalies, this is surly going to effect their confidence on the ice. Knowing that the team wants to bring someone in that is better than you basically means you are not good enough for the team.
Although, it could turn out to be the opposite.
It may mean that both these guys are coming in hungry, trying to prove something. It seems like Reimer is ready to prove he can be the goalie the team expects him to be, he tells Jonas Siegal of TSN.
"That's the goal," Reimer said "That's the goal ever since you're three years old, whether you had a great year or a tough year is to go in there and prove that you're the starter. That's what I wanted to do last year and that's what I want to do again this year coming into camp."
The largest expectations rest on the shoulders of James Reimer, who will be expected to handle most of the load. As for Ben Scrivens, he will just need to be sharp and ready to play when needed, somewhere around 20 games.
Reimer, who last year was only able to manage a 14-14-4 record during the 34 games he strapped on the pads, should be expecting a better performance out of himself this year. If he plans on being the No.1 goalie for the Maple Leafs, and being their go to guy, he will need to improve on a weak 3.10 G.A.A. and a low .900 save percentage.
He has proved that he can win games and will need to rekindle some of the magic he showed early in his career this season. Reimer possesses a great attitude and is able to fight through things quite easily, since he does not seem to dwell on the past too much. He is a very good technical goalie. Combine that with a never say never attitude in the crease and he should be able to stop a lot of pucks if he keeps his mind in the game.
He realizes last year was a tough one but also knows that he can play better.
As for Scrivens, he should be a capable backup, assuming he gets the chance to stay in that role. He has shown that he can put up great numbers in all levels but the NHL. Now is his chance to break through and cement himself as a capable NHL back up.
It looks like Scrivens will get the full season to prove he belongs and will need to take full advantage of the situation. Scrivens led the Toronto Marlies all the way to the Calder Cup finals this year in the AHL, posting an 11-6 record over the 17 games. During that time he held a 1.92 G.A.A and a .935 save percentage.
Not bad numbers at all. If he can continue that type of play, and up his game the slightest amount, he should prove to be a reliable backup to Reimer.
This year could be a long season, and there is no doubt the goaltenders are going to take the brunt of any negative criticism coming the Leafs way. Reimer and Scrivens better be ready for it and be able to handle it without affecting their own games.
Both of these goalies are young, with lots to prove, but they will be hungry. Reimer needs a comeback season to prove that he is still the goalie that the Leafs thought he was and Scrivens has a chance to finally break into the NHL. There is a lot at stake for them and even more so for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hopefully, if all goes as planned, they should be able to squeeze into a playoff spot. Even though that has been the prediction the last couple of years, and the Leafs have been unable to get any sort of playoff action, the same goes for this season. Their goaltending will play a huge part in that prediction coming true, but it seems like the tandem is ready to take on the challenge and help the Leafs survive.