I feel like I have been saying the same thing when it comes to James Reimer since I began writing for Panther Parkway two seasons ago. If he ever gets consistent, the Panthers will have their heir to Roberto Luongo. This past season brought along another opportunity for Reimer to show that he could be the heir right away after Luongo’s injury on opening night and once again, Reimer proved he was not up to the task.
Another year has passed, and Reimer’s consistency issues are as bad as they were when he signed 3 seasons ago. Reimer finished the season with a 13-12-5 record, a .900 sv%, and a 3.09 GAA. Pedestrian numbers across the board.Only 10 of his 29 starts qualifed as quality starts. Quality starts are games where his save percentage was higher then his season average. Good goalies have a quality start percentage of over 60%, Reimer’s was under 35%. Not ideal, especially when his save percentage was .900.
As for his advanced stats, he had a low danger save percentage of 97.57%, slightly down from last year, a medium danger save percentage of 91.9%, slightly up from last season, and a high danger save percentage of 75.32%, almost 4% lower from last season. In my end of season goalie report last year, I discussed how James Reimer’s high points covered up his low points. Those high points didn’t exist this season. It was either bad or just average. I’m not going to go into much more detail on Reimer’s play, because their really isn’t a reason to. He had a poor season and we all know it.
With the worst kept secret in the NHL being the Florida Panthers interest in acquiring Sergei Bobrovsky to be the new #1 goaltender, it seems apparent that the organization is finally tired of waiting for Reimer to become a consistent goalie. Simple math tells us that if Bobrovsky is brought in, there would be one too many goaltenders making large salaries for the Panthers.
George Richards of The Athletic has reported that the Panthers have been trying to move Reimer since last season and has continued those efforts this off-season. Obviously, Dale Tallon has yet to find a taker for Reimer yet and it’s not too surprising. Reimer has two seasons left on the 5 year deal he signed on July 1st, 2016. He will be paid $3.1 million in real money with a $3.4 million cap hit. Not many teams are in the market for an average back-up goaltender making as much as Reimer does.
For those of you wondering why the Panthers don’t just buy out the last two year’s of Reimer’s contract, it’s not that simple. Because of lockout concerns, the Panthers agreed to pay $2.25 million of Reimer’s 20-21 salary as a signing bonus. Signing bonus money can’t be bought out. Therefore, if the Panthers were to buy out James Reimer, they would save $2.4 million against the cap next season, but would be stuck with $3.2 million of dead cap space in 20-21. That’s not good asset management.
Courtesy of CapFriendly.com
Because buying out Reimer makes, little sense, the Panthers only real option is to trade Reimer. It seems that there isn’t much of a market for Reimer so the Panthers may be forced to trade an asset to a team like Ottawa or Arizona to take Reimer off their hands. As of this moment, I just don’t see a way he returns next year.
I’m sure this past season is one Reimer can’t wait to move past, but that will almost certainly happen with another team.