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Reimer (knee) nears return, needs to battle for starts

Feb 25, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

James Reimer AP

It might just be a matter of days — if that — before Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer returns from a knee injury.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Reimer returning for Monday’s game after the 24-year-old netminder took part in Sunday’s full practice, according to TSN.

Whether or not Reimer is available Monday is one thing, but perhaps the bigger question at this point is how the Leafs’ goaltending situation will work out once he’s healthy.

Reimer has gotten off to a superb start this season and put behind his rough 2011-12 sophomore campaign in the process. However, Scrivens has, for the most part, been just as good in relief.

So do the Maple Leafs have a clear number one goaltender right now?

“One-A and 1B. That’s basically the way we’ll deal with it,” said Carlyle, according to the National Post. “If one guy gets hot, he’ll have a chance to run with it.”

Carlyle is hoping that there will be healthy competition without this devolving into a controversy.

Both netminders are young and neither came into this season as an established starter, so that probably will help avoid the controversies that can stem from a goaltender getting fewer starts than his reputation or contract warrants.

By the same token, both netminders still have a lot to prove and it’s too easy to assume that either is a safe bet to maintain anything close to this pace for the full season.

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