Friday, February 4, 2011

James Reimer and Leaf Rookie Goalies

Time to weigh in on the James Reimer phenomenon. The Leafs have rarely had a rookie goalie come out of nowhere to take the league by storm in the way a Sergei Bobrov, Semyon Varlamov, Jim Carey or Blaine Lacher did (remember Lacher?). In Reimer, perhaps they have a tender that will continue to make headlines and develop into real star unlike Carey and Lacher.

Toronto has developed very few goalies through their system over the years. The last real star goaltender the Leafs have developed internally was Felix Potvin back in the early 1990's. I wanted to look back at all the goalies who started their careers with Toronto and how their stats compared to Reimer over their first 8 decisions. All the guys listed below were younger than 25 and began their career with Toronto, some of these numbers are staggered over two different seasons. From most recent first (W-L-T, GAA, SAVE PCT.)

  • James Reimer 10/11 5-3-0, 1.96, .940
  • Jonas Gustavsson 09/10 3-2-3, 2.61, .916
  • Justin Pogge 08/09 1-4-1, 4.35, .844
  • Mikael Tellqvist 02/03 4-1-2, 1.80, .929
  • Marcel Cousineau 96/97 3-3-0, 2.81, .910
  • Damian Rhodes 91-93 6-1-1, 2.46, .906
  • Feliz Potvin 91-92 3-3-1, 2.27, .925
  • Peter Ing 90-91 1-4-0, 4.98, .875
  • Jeff Reese 88-89 2-3-2, 4.52, .858
  • Allan Bester 83/84 4-3-1, 4.03, .889
  • Ken Wregget 83-84 2-4-2, 5.32, .868
  • Vincent Tremblay 79-81 2-4-0, 5.59, .866
  • Mike Palmateer 76/77 5-2-1, 2.25, .930

Some great names from the past. Mikael Tellqvist never proved to be a number one goalie, and took his back-up skills to play in Finland. Damian Rhodes rode his hot start to over 300 career games also with Ottawa and Atlanta. After leading the NHL in losses in 90/91 Peter Ing was shipped to Edmonton with Vinny Damphousse and played only 15 more NHL games. Jeff Reese proved to be a serviceable back-up for over ten seasons and set the record with 3 assists in a game with Calgary. Ken Wregget would lead the league in losses in consecutive years with the Leafs, (they did that alot back then). Then went on to win a Cup with the Penguins. Vincent Tremblay parlayed his horrendous start into a 12-26-8 career record and 4.80 GAA and was out of hockey by age 26.
James Reimer's career start may be the best overall numbers since Mike Palmateer in 1976/77. The 'Popcorn Kid" finished third in the NHL in wins his second and third seasons. If Reimer came even remotely close to that the Leafs will be estatic...of course injuries forced Palmateer out of hockey before the age of 30. When it comes to young goalies, you just never know.

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