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Monday, 22 October 2012

What Does Luongo to the Leafs Mean For Current Leaf Goaltenders?

Usually when a sport is in a lockout state all talks about trades are put on hold until the league breaks the lockout, but apparently the never stopping Toronto sports media missed that memo. A report surfaced on twitter last week, that the next time Roberto Luongo plays in the NHL it will be for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The report is initially from SportsNet and hockey reporter John Shannon. While neither team has confirmed the trade, nor can they because of the lockout, fans got pretty excited over the news.

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has denied the rumour, stating that talking about trades without a CBA is not allowed, there are as many as 5 teams that have expressed interest in the goaltender and further talks would not continue until a new CBA is worked out. As I said earlier the Toronto sports media loves to cause drama, their motto seems to be; "If there isn't a story, make one up".

Whether the rumour is true or not, and frankly we may never know as there are several variables in a situation like this, the possibility of Bobby Luo ending up in Toronto is pretty good. The Leafs are in desperate need of a veteran goaltender and depending on the new CBA would be one of the few teams that could afford his contract. But the point of this article is not to debate whether Luongo will be a Toronto Maple Leaf but rather to see how his addition to the Leafs would effect the current goaltending situation in Toronto.

James Reimer

Reimer burst onto the Toronto Maple Leafs radar halfway through the 2010 season when then goaltenders Jonas Gustavsson and Jean-Sebastien Giguere began to play poorly and drove the Leafs out of the playoff race. He was then named the starting goaltender for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season playing in 37 total games and becoming an instant fan favourite, many of whom referred to him as the "Leafs saviour". Reimer had a injury riddled 2011-2012 season that saw him get injured twice and as a result his play suffered. He played in just 34 games and finished with a 3.10 Goals Against Average and a .900 Save Percentage.

Reimer is a solid goaltender and has the capability to be a solid number one goaltender, but not with the Leafs. He's still young and inconsistent a recipe for disaster for a goaltender constantly under the spot light in Toronto. Leafs GM Brian Burke told the media that Reimer and Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens would battle it out in training camp to decide who will become the starting goalie. Interesting that the Leafs won't name Reimer their clear cut number one and a sign that management is looking elsewhere.

Verdict: Reimer Gets Traded- He's a great guy and a solid goaltender. But questions have arrised about his mental toughness and ability to handle the media pressure. As a result Reimer needs to play for a team that is out of the limelight so he can develop his game without the constant criticism.

Ben Scrivens

While there are questions about the young goaltenders attitude there is no question he is a solid netminder. He lead the Toronto Marlies to the Calder Cup finals  and had a fantastic season racking up 22 wins. His play earned him a call up to the Leafs, where he played in 12 games and won 4. With his play in the AHL last season, there is no question he deserves a chance to crack the NHL roster and challenge for the starting job. But is he ready?

Scrivens was an un-drafted prospect who signed with the Leafs in 2o10 because of goaltending coach Francois Allaire. Although Scrivens is older than Reimer (26) he is still very much a rookie who needs more experience at the NHL level. He is off to a rocky start with the Marlies going 1-2 in his 3 games with a .896 Save Percentage.

Verdict: Scrivens Becomes Luongo's Backup- Last season's run to the Calder Cup finals was fantastic to watch and Scrivens showed he can play. The fact the Leafs are willing to let him battle to become the starter shows they have some faith in him and see a future with him between the pipes. He needs more experience and could benefit from the guidance of a veteran goaltender. If there's another media outlet nearly as bad as Toronto it's Vancouver, Luongo would not only help him on the ice but potentially help him with the media as well. Having the veteran in Luongo and the rookie in Scrivens might be the right formula for success for both goaltenders.

Jussi Rynnas

Rynnas is another un-drafted goalie who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent. Rynnas joins the Marlies after playing for Assat of the SM-liiga the top professional league in Finland (2009). After winning a job with Assat out of training camp he went on to post the top Save Percentage (.927) and a solid Goals Against Average of 2.47. His play earned him attention from several NHL teams and he ultimately chose the Leafs, he was sent to the Marlies where he played 30 games in 2010. Last season saw him split time between the Marlies and their ECHL affiliate, but this year he's back with the Marlies and looks to backup Scrivens until he is recalled to the Leafs at the end of the Lockout.

Verdict Rynnas Becomes Marlies Starting Goaltender- With more experience and playing time Rynnas has the possibility and skill to become a solid starting goaltender, if and when the NHL lockout ends he will get that chance with the Marlies.

There you have it folks, my thoughts on the goaltending situation should Luongo indeed end up in Toronto. Of course if he does land in Toronto he will be the new number one goaltender and be faced with the task of bringing the Leafs back to the playoffs. I would not be surprised in the slightest to see the Leafs having a goaltending tandem of Luongo and Scrivens for the next few seasons. What do you think folks, will Loungo end up with the Leafs? If so how does it effect their goalies?


1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this and wanted to say thanks. Keep up the good work :)