The Toronto Maple Leafs announced the re-signing of restricted free agent goaltender James Reimer to a two-year deal worth a reported $4.6 million, avoiding Monday's arbitration deadline.
The deal, which will pay Reimer just $300,000 less than incumbent starter Jonathan Bernier next season, should temporarily pacify both the player and the organization.
It's no secret that both sides long to divorce; the passion that once united the 26-year-old to the city has long faded. But in accepting the ball cap at a modest price, Reimer will have boosted his value to help facilitate the trade he requested while providing Toronto with a backup in the interim.
Reimer will reportedly pocket $2.6 million next season at a cap hit of $2.3 million - a fair price for a backup capable of carrying a starter load. Then, in the second year, Reimer will only cost a frugal club (let's call them his hometown Winnipeg Jets) $2 million at the same cap hit.
Toronto did the negotiating for
the Jets a would-be buyer, and managed to keep Reimer out of an arbitration hearing that would have probably awarded him a better figure and made him a more difficult sell.
As for the Maple Leafs, they now have a player under contract on their terms with a clear No. 1 ready to shoulder the load from the season's outset.
By agreeing on a two-year pact, the Maple Leafs and Reimer may have taken the necessary measures to finally bid farewell - or at least play nice until then.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Shawn Coates