When the Leafs acquired goaltender Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings this past summer, two things were made clear by this move. One, the Leafs would have one heck of a goaltending duo this upcoming season—and two, the Leafs will more than likely have a goaltending controversy on their hands at the end of all of this.
I've always said its never a bad thing to have depth, and having two potential number one goaltenders under the age of 26 on your roster is always a good thing.
I bring this point up because right now the Leafs face a major cap crunch right now in order to sign both Cody Franson and Nazem Kadri stay under the cap. The Leafs only sit about $6 million under the cap, but I seriously doubt the flexibility they have in reality.
One way to get more cap space may be by buying out John-Michael Liles, however, a smarter option may be dealing James Reimer's $1.8 million dollar deal for some prospects, or elect to trade potential unrestricted free agent next season, Dion Phaneuf while the market is still sizzling for his services.
I've never liked the idea of running with the hot goaltender because it puts an incredible amount of pressure on these young goalies to perform at their highest level. What ends up happening is they usually end up succumbing to the pressure. Add to it both goaltenders play in the pressure cooker called the Air Canada Center in Toronto, and you have a recipe for disaster.
From an outsiders point of view, Reimer finished last season with a career best save percentage of .924, and he also finished the seven playoff games he played with a .923 save percentage. That wasn't enough to convince Leafs management though that they had the goaltender to lead them further into the playoffs.
Enter the acquisition of Jonathan Bernier. Since the Leafs only played 48 games last season, its possible the Leafs questioned whether Reimer could sustain that level of play for an 82-game season. Bernier, if anything, will provide Toronto a very capable back-up at worst— at best, he'll provide the Leafs a budding star goaltender and a valuable trade piece in Reimer.
With training camp set to begin in the next few weeks, Leafs Nation waits with baited breath in anticipation of the goaltending battle as well as a few other details that have yet to be ironed out.
What will happen? Will Reimer get dealt? Will Phaneuf Be Dealt? Will Liles Be Bought Out? Will Toronto just send down Trevor Smith and Korbinian Holzer and hope to sign both Franson and Kadri?
Voice your opinions below.
Thanks for Reading.