James Reimer (ice hockey)

Last updated

James Reimer
James Reimer 2016.jpg
Reimer with the San Jose Sharks in 2016
Born (1988-03-15) March 15, 1988 (age 31)
Arborg, Manitoba, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 208 lb (94 kg; 14 st 12 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team
Former teams
Carolina Hurricanes
Toronto Maple Leafs
San Jose Sharks
Florida Panthers
National teamFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
NHL Draft 99th overall, 2006
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 2008present

James Reimer ( /ˈrmər/ ; born March 15, 1988) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL). Reimer has also played in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, and Florida Panthers. He was selected by the Maple Leafs in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He started playing minor hockey in his hometown when he was 12. He played junior hockey with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL), after being selected in the fifth round of the 2003 WHL Bantam Draft.

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Goaltender person who blocks the goal in ice hockey

In ice hockey, the goaltender or goalie is the player responsible for preventing the hockey puck from entering their team's net, thus preventing the opposing team from scoring. The goaltender usually plays in or near the area in front of the net called the goal crease. Goaltenders tend to stay at or beyond the top of the crease to cut down on the angle of shots. In today's age of goaltending there are two common styles, butterfly and hybrid. Because of the power of shots, the goaltender wears special equipment designed to protect the body from direct impact. The goalie is one of the most valuable players on the ice, as their performance can greatly change the outcome or score of the game. One-on-one situations, such as breakaways and shootouts, have the tendency to highlight a goaltender's pure skill, or lack thereof. No more than one goaltender is allowed to be on the ice for each team at any given time. Teams are not required to use a goaltender and may instead opt to play with an additional skater, but the defensive disadvantage this poses generally means that the strategy is only used as a desperation maneuver when trailing late in a game or can be used if the opposing team has a delayed penalty.


After turning professional, Reimer played with the South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals of the ECHL, as well as the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL). He was named the most valuable player of the ECHL playoffs, as the Stingrays won the Kelly Cup in 2009. Reimer made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs during the 2010–11 season and went on to replace Jean-Sébastien Giguère as the Maple Leafs' starting goaltender.

South Carolina Stingrays ice hockey team

The South Carolina Stingrays are a professional minor league ice hockey team based in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Stingrays play in the South Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference. They play their home games at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Carolina Ice Palace, also located in North Charleston, serves as a practice facility and backup arena for the Stingrays. Established in 1993, the team has been owned by a conglomerate of local business owners since 1995. The team was affiliated with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League starting in 2004 and ending in July 2012 when the Capitals announced their affiliation with the ECHL's Reading Royals. On June 26, 2014, the Washington Capitals announced an affiliation agreement with the Stingrays for the 2014–15 season.

Reading Royals ice hockey team

The Reading Royals are a professional ice hockey team that currently plays in the ECHL. The team participates in the North Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference. The Royals play their home games at the Santander Arena located in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania. The Royals colors are purple, black, silver, and white. Since 2001, the Royals have ranked among ECHL leaders in regular season attendance. On March 25, 2006, against the Trenton Titans, the Royals reached their one millionth fan in attendance. The Royals hosted two ECHL All-Star Games; one in 2005 and one in 2009.

ECHL Ice hockey league in North America

The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and two franchises in Canada. It is a tier below the American Hockey League.

Reimer plays for Canada internationally, and first represented his country at the 2011 World Championship. In 2013, he had the best save percentage in Toronto Maple Leafs history with a then .918. [1]

Canada mens national ice hockey team mens national ice hockey team representing Canada

The Canadian national men's ice hockey team is the ice hockey team representing Canada internationally. The team is overseen by Hockey Canada, a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. From 1920 until 1963, Canada's international representation was by senior amateur club teams. Canada's national men's team was founded in 1963 by Father David Bauer as a part of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, playing out of the University of British Columbia. The nickname "Team Canada" was first used for the 1972 Summit Series and has been frequently used to refer to the Canadian national team ever since.

2011 IIHF World Championship 2011 edition of the IIHF World Championship

The 2011 IIHF World Championship was the 75th IIHF World Championship, an annual international men's ice hockey tournament. It took place between the 29 April and the 15 May 2011 in Slovakia. The games were played in the Orange Arena in Bratislava, and the Steel Aréna in Košice. The Czech team was the defending champion.

Save percentage is a statistic in many sports that track saves as a statistic.

Playing career


Reimer started playing goalie when his older brother, Mark, needed practice shooting but had no goalie. A local minor hockey manager heard about his prowess in goal, and recruited him. His parents were unsure if minor hockey was the right fit for their son, [2] so he did not play organized hockey until he was 12. [3] He was first noticed by agent Ray Petkau when he was 13, after playing with a church team at a tournament in Steinbach, Manitoba. As of November 2011, Petkau was still his representative. [3]

Steinbach, Manitoba City in Manitoba, Canada

Steinbach is a city located about 58 km south-east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. According to the Canada 2016 Census, Steinbach has a population of 15,829, making it the third-largest city in Manitoba and the largest community in the Eastman region. The city is bordered by the Rural Municipality of Hanover, and the Rural Municipality of La Broquerie (east). The name of "Steinbach" is translated from German as "Stony Brook" and was first settled by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from the Russian Empire in 1874. The city continues to have a strong Mennonite influence today; more than 50 percent of the residents claim Germanic heritage. Steinbach is found on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, while Sandilands Provincial Forest is a short distance east of the city.

Reimer played his last seasons of minor hockey for the Interlake Lightning of the Manitoba "AAA" Midget league. [4] He was the team's rookie of the year and top scholastic player after the 2002–03 season, and the most valuable player after the 2004–05 season. [5]


Reimer was selected by the Red Deer Rebels in the fifth round of the 2003 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft, with a pick that originally belonged to the Spokane Chiefs. [6] The team drafted Reimer largely on the word of a single scout, Carter Sears. After Reimer performed poorly during his first training camp with the club, Rebels head coach Brent Sutter wanted to release him, but Sears was persistent in his support for Reimer. [3] Reimer made the club in his third attempt after having been cut the previous two seasons. [7] His first season in the WHL was a poor one for the Rebels; Reimer played 34 games, recording only 7 wins. [8] Reimer broke his hand late in the season, an injury which cost him a chance to play for Canada at the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championships. [9] Reimer was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth round, 99th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. [10] John Ferguson, Jr., the Maple Leafs' general manager at the time, remembers Reimer as an unfinished product needing time to develop, being "somewhat raw". [3] At the time of the draft, Reimer was preparing for his high school graduation and did not attend the event in Vancouver. He said, "I made a decision not to pay a lot of attention because I was reluctant to get my hopes too high." [4] His agent, Ray Petkau, called with the news about being drafted and later brought him his Maple Leafs jersey and hat that draftees receive. [4] Prior to the draft, Reimer had mentioned he would like to be drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, saying, "I'd love to play hockey in all that sunshine." [9]

Red Deer Rebels Canadian junior ice hockey team

The Red Deer Rebels are a Western Hockey League junior ice hockey team based in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

The WHL Bantam Draft is an annual outing, in which the teams of the Western Hockey League select players who have graduated from bantam. The draft's order of selection depends on where the team finishes in the league standings. The teams that miss the playoffs are placed into a lottery for the 1st round only. After the 1st round, the teams select in order from fewest to most regular season points.

Spokane Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs are a major junior ice hockey team that plays in the Western Hockey League based out of Spokane, Washington. The team plays its home games at the Spokane Arena. Their uniforms are similar to those of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. Spokane consistently ranks in the top 10 in the Canadian Hockey League in attendance. The Chiefs won the Memorial Cup in 1991 and 2008. They also hosted the first outdoor hockey game in WHL history on January 15, 2011, at Avista Stadium versus the Kootenay Ice.

Reimer attended training camp with the Maple Leafs in 2006 and 2007, but was returned to the Rebels both times. [11] During the 2006–07 WHL season, he played in 60 games with the Rebels, recording 26 wins, 23 losses and 7 ties, the only season in his WHL career Reimer finished with a winning record. [8] The 2007–08 WHL season was Reimer's final season in the WHL. [8] He suffered a torn ligament in his ankle and only appeared in 30 games. [12] In March 2008, the Maple Leafs signed Reimer to a three-year contract worth an annual base salary of $555,000, the minimum for an NHL player at the time. [11] The deal included a $180,000 signing bonus and playing incentives that could increase the total value of the contract to $1.8 million. [13] [14]


Toronto Maple Leafs

Reimer during warmup for the Gardiner Cup final James Reimer.jpg
Reimer during warmup for the Gardiner Cup final

After attending the Maple Leafs' training camp in September 2008, Reimer was assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL). After starting the season with the Marlies, he was assigned to the Reading Royals of the ECHL. He was recalled by the Marlies and recorded his first AHL win by a score of 3–2 in a shootout on December 27, 2008, against the Manitoba Moose. [15] In two stints with the Marlies, Reimer had a record of one win and two losses, with a goals against average (GAA) of 3.28 and a .882 save percentage. [8] With the Royals, Reimer had a record of ten wins, seven losses and three ties. [8] At the ECHL trade deadline, Reimer was moved to the South Carolina Stingrays, a team that had gone through eight goaltenders during the season. [16] The deal was facilitated to expose Reimer to post-season experience, as the Royals were out of playoff contention. [16] While with the Stingrays, Reimer helped them win the 2009 Kelly Cup championship. Recording four wins and one shutout over eight games in the post-season, he was named the ECHL Playoffs Most Valuable Player. [11]

Reimer at Ricoh Coliseum after a Toronto Marlies hockey game on December 11, 2009. James Reimer 2009.jpg
Reimer at Ricoh Coliseum after a Toronto Marlies hockey game on December 11, 2009.

After attending the Maple Leafs' training camp ahead of the 2009–10 NHL season, Reimer was again sent down to the AHL. As part of the Marlies' pre-season, Reimer competed in the Gardiner Cup, held as part of Scotland's 2009 Homecoming celebrations. He stopped 33 shots in the final as the Marlies lost 3–1 to the Hamilton Bulldogs. [17] Back in the AHL, he spent the majority of the 2009–10 season with the Marlies, playing in 26 games and recording 14 wins. He had a GAA of 2.25 and a save percentage of .925. [8] Reimer was called up by the Leafs on an emergency basis on October 13, 2009, when starting goaltender Vesa Toskala was injured. [18] Serving as Joey MacDonald's backup, he did not receive any playing time in his first NHL call-up and was sent back to the Marlies on October 25. Reimer missed significant time with an ankle injury during the 2009–10 season. It was not the same ankle he injured during his final season with the Red Deer Rebels. [16]

At the outset of the 2010–11 NHL season, Reimer again was assigned to the AHL's Marlies. He was not expected to contribute to the Maple Leafs at the NHL level during the 2010–11 season. Expectations for the young netminder were low heading into the season, with head coach Ron Wilson saying, "We wanted him to play in the minors and continue to get better, develop and try to stay healthy." [19] He was recalled by the Maple Leafs several months into the season, making his NHL debut on December 20, 2010, in relief of Jonas Gustavsson against the Atlanta Thrashers. He played 14 minutes in the third period, stopping all four shots he faced. [20] Reimer made his first NHL start against the Ottawa Senators on January 1, 2011. The Maple Leafs won the game 5–1, with Reimer recording 32 saves while picking up his first career NHL win. [21] On February 3, 2011, Reimer recorded 27 saves and picked up his first career NHL shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes. [22] A combination of injuries and poor play by Gustavsson and Jean-Sébastien Giguère provided an opportunity for Reimer at the NHL level. His strong play caused the Leafs to carry three goalies on their NHL roster, a fact which did not surprise Giguère, who said, "The way he played the last time he was up, you knew he was going to get another chance." [23] Ron Wilson acknowledged Reimer as the team's starting goaltender as they set out on a late-season run for a playoff spot, saying, "It's going to be his ball the rest of the way. As long as we stay in the race. And I think he's up to it." [24]

Reimer became a quick fan favourite during his rookie NHL season, earning the nicknames "Optimus Reim" and "The Statue". [25] The former is a reference to the Transformers protagonist Optimus Prime, while the latter resulted from head coach Wilson's attempts to suppress the hype around the rookie goalie only a short time into his NHL career, saying, "There's all this [attention] around here, a guy wins a game and we're ready to build a statue for him." [26] Reimer's strong performance was recognized by the NHL when he was named Rookie of the Month for March 2011. [27] Reimer would have become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2011, but he signed a three-year contract worth $5.4 million ($1.8 million salary cap hit) on June 9, 2011. [28]

Reimer with the Leafs in 2012 James Reimer 1 2012-03-07.JPG
Reimer with the Leafs in 2012

Reimer began the 2011–12 season as the starter going 4–0–1. [29] He suffered an injury on October 22 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. During the game, Reimer was run into by Brian Gionta—he finished the first period, but did not return after the intermission. The team called the injury whiplash despite rumours that he was suffering from a concussion. [30] Reimer missed 19 games with the injury, and struggled upon his return, yielding some starts to Gustavsson. [29] [31] After recording two back-to-back shutouts on February 1 and February 4, Reimer seemed to have solidified the starting position once again. [32]

Near the end of March 2012, Reimer was starting to play to an acceptable standard again, but an upper-body injury (later revealed to be a neck injury) [33] sidelined him for the remainder of the season from March 29. On April 9, he told the media he would be available by training camp in September 2012. Due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Reimer was afforded more time to heal and attended training camp in January 2013. Reimer held off an early challenge from rookie backup Ben Scrivens to remain Toronto's starting goaltender. On February 11, Reimer suffered a MCL strain which kept him out of action for a little over two weeks; he won all three of his next starts after returning. [34] Upon returning, Reimer backstopped the Maple Leafs to their first playoff berth since 2004 [35] and finishing the regular season with a career best 2.46 GAA and .924 save percentage in 34 games. [36]

Prior to the 2013–14 season, the club acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings. At the beginning of the season, Reimer and Bernier were splitting time in the Toronto goal, but as the season progressed, Bernier cemented his status as the Leafs' starting goaltender. [37]

Following the 2013–14 season, Reimer became a restricted free agent. Dissatisfied with his role as the Leafs' backup, he requested a trade from the Leafs. [38] On July 25, 2014, the Leafs and Reimer avoided a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for the next week by agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.3 million. [39]

Reimer began the 2015–16 season as Bernier's backup, a role he had held since the team acquired the latter. However, Bernier was injured early in the season and Reimer was given starting duties. He took off with the job, going 3–0–0 with a 1.62 GAA and .952 save percentage to be named the third star for the week of November 9–15, 2015. [40] Reimer would hold the position as Maple Leafs' starting goaltender for the rest of his tenure, earning praise for his play on a Toronto team that struggled throughout the year.

San Jose Sharks

As the February 29 trade deadline approached, Reimer's future with the rebuilding Maple Leafs became uncertain. On February 27, 2016, two days before the deadline, Reimer was traded to the San Jose Sharks (alongside Jeremy Morin) in exchange for Alex Stalock, Ben Smith and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (condition dependent on the Sharks reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, a condition met, converting the pick to a third-round pick on May 25, 2016). [41] [42] Reimer had the best five-on-five save percentage and the best Fenwick save percentage in the NHL for the 2015–16 season (1,200 minutes minimum time on ice) at .9404 and .9573 respectively. [43]

Florida Panthers

On July 1, 2016, as a free agent for the first time in his career, Reimer was signed to a five-year contract with the Florida Panthers. [44]

Carolina Hurricanes

After three seasons with the Florida Panthers, Reimer was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Scott Darling and a 2020 sixth-round draft pick on June 30, 2019. [45]

International play

Reimer's first brush with international hockey came near the end of the 2005–06 season. He was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championships, but was unable to compete due to a broken hand he suffered while playing for Red Deer. [9] After his strong rookie season in the NHL, Reimer received another invitation from Hockey Canada, this time to compete at the 2011 IIHF World Championship. [46] Reimer got his first win in the tournament beating Belarus 4–1. [47]

Playing style

Reimer plays in the butterfly style of goaltending. [48] Observers have attributed Reimer's success during the 2010–11 season to his ability to maintain his focus and confidence. [19] Reimer tries to focus on the basics of playing goal, feeling that the fundamentals of goaltending are the key to success, saying, "It's not about making the great save, or making a diving save or playing outside yourself. It's all about pushing, stopping, and being square and just relying on that. Most of the time if you let out a rebound the defenceman is there so it's more about being solid fundamentally." [49]


Reimer was born in Arborg, Manitoba, to parents Harold and Marlene Reimer. His father owns a business moving homes. [2] He graduated from Morweena Christian High School in his hometown. [4] His favorite hockey team growing up was the Toronto Maple Leafs and his favourite player was Ed Belfour. [4] Reimer met his wife, April, at a junior hockey game in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. [50] The couple have two daughters who were born in 2017 and 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. [51]

Reimer is a practising Christian, giving credit to God as a big part of his mental game. [52] [53]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
2005–06 Red Deer Rebels WHL 34718317098002.81.910
2006–07 Red Deer RebelsWHL6026237333914832.66.9127344172703.88.871
2007–08 Red Deer RebelsWHL30815416687612.73.920
2008–09 Toronto Marlies AHL 31201831003.28.880
2008–09 Reading Royals ECHL 22107312366803.30.904
2008–09 South Carolina Stingrays ECHL6600363821.32.9618414971812.17.929
2009–10 Toronto MarliesAHL25148215205712.25.925
2010–11 Toronto MarliesAHL159518583732.59.920
2010–11 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 372010520809032.60.921
2011–12 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL341414418799733.10.900
2012–13 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL33198518567642.46.9247344392102.88.922
2013–14 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL361216117859813.29.911
2014–15 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL35916117679303.16.907
2015–16 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL321112718107502.49.918
2015–16 San Jose Sharks NHL86204811331.62.93810030102.06.857
2016–17 Florida Panthers NHL431816523259832.53.920
2017–18 Florida PanthersNHL4422146241212042.99.913
2018–19 Florida PanthersNHL361312518069303.09.900
NHL totals3381441203918,199853212.81.9138344692202.82.921


2011 Canada WC 5th4300235802.04.920
2014 CanadaWC5th4310245902.20.911
Senior totals86104801702.12.917

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