Wednesday, March 23, 2011

King James, Felix and the Turk

James Reimer. The kid looks to be for real. If only Burkie brought him up in November instead of January. Now that he has played enough games and qualified for goaltending categories (at least 1/3 of a teams games) Reimer is showing up on the NHL leaderboards. He sits tied with Jonas Hiller for fourth overall in Save Percentage with .925 behind only Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo. The number is far and away the best among rookie tenders. His Point Pct. from a 16-7-4 record rank fourth league-wide behind Thomas, Luongo and Michal Neuvirth.

Since the All-Star break "Optimus Reim" is fourth in the NHL in Wins with 12, behind Antti Niemi, Ilya Bryzgalov and Mikka Kiprusoff and his 3 shutouts are only one back of leader Carey Price. Those three white-washings are only two off the Toronto rookie record and the most by a Leaf rookie since Mike Palmateer had four in 76/77. Before that it was the two rookies with five shutouts, Ed Chadwick in 56/57 and Al Rollins in 50/51.

Remember, Reimer just last week turned 23 years old and therefore is considered 22 for this season. Among Leaf rookie goaltenders that young, he is one of only three to have at least 15 victories and a GAA of 2.50 or less. Reimer sits at 16 wins and a 2.49 GAA, Felix Potvin at 22 years old in 92/93 won 25 and had an average of 2.50. The other was Turk Broda with 22 wins and a 2.30 average in 1936/37 at the age of 21.

Interestingly, over their 80 plus years of existence, the Leafs have had a rookie goalie play at least 30 games on only 12 different occaisons. Reimer's next game will be his 30th. The names range from Broda, Frank McCool, Palmateer, Potvin, Allan Bester and Jonas Gustavsson to Ron Low, Jiri Chra, Tim Bernhardt and Peter Ing.

While Reimer may not quite be having the greatest Leaf rookie goalie year ever, he certainly is having one of the most surprising ones.

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