After a 48 game campaign, it would appear the Leafs goalie talks were laid to rest thanks to James Reimer and Ben Scrivens.
"But wait!", yells Dave Nonis, holding a contract signed to Jonathan Bernier.
The talks are back, but this time it's not about finding a goalie - we're here to decide which (#1) goalie we should use more. A "problem" which is much better than previous years.
I don't think many doubt the ability of either goaltender. Both are young, high potential, hard working guys. There is also many differences that can make you lean towards one or the other.
For Reimer, he's played in a playoff setting - quite well, actually. He brought his team to game 7 against the Eastern Conference champs, despite a collapse that would have sent us to round 2. In regards to playoffs, Bernier has been there, but hasn't played, nor been the "man" for his team. It's likely no fault of his own, considering his competition was a playoff MVP. That being said, he's a Stanley Cup winner regardless if he played in the games or not.
Whether you believe Reimer is more talented or not, one thing is for sure. The team has trust and respect for him, which is something earned - not provided on a silver platter. I'm not saying they will sit and pick daisy's in front of Bernier, but there is no denying the support the Leafs currently have for Reimer.
As for Bernier, the 24 year old was selected 11th overall by the Kings. You don't pick a goalie 11th overall hoping they become just a good back-up. As his previous team-mates, management and coaches have said, he's ready to be a #1 goalie in the NHL.
So who do I think will be the starting goalie? Well, it's Reimer's to lose, Bernier's to take. It could also be Bernier's gift, Reimer's to re-gain, but either way you look at it, failure from one will be the other's pathway between the pipes.
Our season opener is October 1st, against the Montreal Canadiens. The starter of that game will more than likely back-up against Philadelphia, the following night. But I have a hunch that Reimer will be our starter against Ottawa for the home opener, considering his success (undefeated and 2 shutouts) against the rivaled Sens. After that, playing the hot hand, or glove, will be the theme.
To take everything into account, training camp and pre-season will be the first test (or tryout - if you wish to call it that) for the duo. At the end of the day, they are both Toronto Maple Leafs, and the competition should only go so far. A win is a win, the totality of the team's success is more valuable than a save percentage.
Here's some questions you can speculate answers for; Who will be the starter for game 1? Who finishes the season? Who get's the playoff starts if we make it? Nobody knows, but let's just be thankful we're debating on which goalie is starting, instead of which goalie will cost us the least amount of losses...... Oh, and be happy our goalie's name isn't Vesa ToskaLOL.