As the idea of a 24 team playoff format gains traction, the Carolina Hurricanes must rely on consistent goaltender James Reimer for postseason success.
I remember the moment I was all in on Carolina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer, I actually made a note in my phone about it. It was the 11/30/2019 contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning where Reimer made a skate save outside of the crease on what looked like it was going to be an easy Lightning goal.
My fandom was only strengthened when I saw a comment on r/hockey, a subreddit which most hockey fans frequent. Under a post-game thread for the 02/02/20 match up against the Vancouver Canuks, user Kraze_F35 wrote a post that began with the phrase “James Reimer is such a man’s man.”
I’ll let any curious reader investigate this post found on almost every Canes post-game thread, but safe to say it never disappoints.
All humor aside, Reimer has proved valuable for the latter half of the season after a questionable start. His best stretch, in my opinion, was from the January 11 game against the LA Kings to the February 7 game against the Vancouver Canuks, where he didn’t drop below a .914 save percentage. He not only scored a shutout against the Kings but saved an impressive 41 shots.
Reimer is not always a flashy player, and while he doesn’t make highlight reels often he has proven to be consistent in the net. He doesn’t venture often outside of the crease and doesn’t give up on pucks. This season’s statistics have proved this with a consistent range of save percentages.
This is something that I believe the Hurricanes organization can learn from Reimer. One of my personal frustrations with the team this season is not that they lack the talent or ability to win, it’s the fact that every puck has to be fought for until the whistle. This is a dynamic that Reimer brings to the team when he is in net.
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Jake Gardiner spoke about the Hurricanes’ goalie dynamic after the game which showcased Reimer’s impossible save against the Lightning. “You want a goalie who’s confident and relaxed,” Gardiner said. “You want someone you’re comfortable in knowing that if you do screw up, he’s probably going to make a save. We have two goalies who can do that.”
Reimer has only performed in two playoff series. The first series was the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs which featured the Boston Bruins against James Reimer in net for the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the Leafs lost the series to the Bruins, Reimer maintained an impressive .923 save percentage.
With a limited range of playoff appearance statistics to pull from, the Hurricanes should rely on Reimer’s performance this year as an accurate measure.
The 2019 postseason may very well turn out to look very different than any year in recent memory. While the Canes might be a sleeping dog pick to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, I believe that the Canes should look to Reimer to secure valuable wins on the way to the ultimate prize.