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Goaltending remains Leafs’ biggest x-factor

Aug 10, 2012, 7:01 PM EDT

James Reimer Getty Images

Toronto’s core of forwards is pretty sound at this point, and only getting better thanks to the addition of James van Riemsdyk and the growth of youngsters like Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin, and Joe Colborne.

Their defense seems similarly strong, led by Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, Jake Gardiner, and Carl Gunnarsson.

Still, whether or not the Leafs are a playoff team is open for debate, and the main point of criticism is their goaltending. Toronto might still make a move, but as things currently stand, they are likely to enter the season with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as their goaltending duo.

Reimer had a remarkable rookie season, but his sophomore campaign was derailed early because of a concussion. Even when he returned, he was never able to get back on track.

One potential alternative would be to acquire Roberto Luongo, but the length of his contract makes that problematic. If the Toronto Maple Leafs are still three-to-five years away from competing for the Stanley Cup, then Luongo would be in his mid-to-late 30s before Toronto is ready to make a serious playoff run.

The alternative would be to get a veteran backup to help take some pressure off Reimer and maybe serve as a calming influence, but the unrestricted free agent market is devoid of any ideal candidates. Ty Conklin, Marty Turco, and Brent Johnson are still unsigned, but at this point the Leafs might not be comfortable having any of those three serve as their starter for extended periods should Reimer struggle.

With that in mind, it’s entirely possible that Toronto will not be able to make a significant move to address their goaltending situation over the summer. With that in mind, Toronto’s odds of making the playoffs in 2012-13 might be firmly tied to Reimer’s ability to bounce back.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Paying a high price for Luongo is stupid and I commend Burke for not caving in and doing it. I would rather see them roll the dice on one of the vets you mention here. They likely won’t backstop the team into the playoffs but they will mentor Reimer and take some of the pressure off him.

    At this point I would rather see Reimer’s development take the right course then continue with this baptism-by-fire thing he seems headed for again this year.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      than*

  2. braddavery - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Two words; Dominik Hasek

    • 19inarow - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      What he said.

    • ltcpain75 - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      ROFLMAO! Yeah, a 47 year old goalie who hasn’t played in the NHL in several years will fix the Leafs’ problems alright.

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