Following a comparatively decent 2017-18 year for the Florida Panthers, high-priced backup James Reimer should experience a more successful season in 2019.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Reimer produced an adequate record of 22-14-6, while suiting up in 44 games and starting in 42 of them. James boasted a save percentage of .913, a seven percent decrease from the 2016-17 season. Moreover, Reimer impressively tied a career-high mark with four shutouts during the 2017-18 season.
Although, the 2018 season wasn’t an entirely positive one for James Reimer. In essence, Reimer allowed significantly more goals on a start-by-start basis, recording an abysmal goals-against average of 2.99.
In summarizing Reimer’s 2017-18 season in one adjective, the appropriate selection would be: inconsistent. If the Florida Panthers hope to seal a potential playoff berth in 2019, then James Reimer must undoubtedly perform more consistently and effectively when called upon.
Essentially, Reimer will earn approximately $3.4 million annually for the next three NHL seasons. Therefore, if FLA doesn’t receive satisfactory production from Reimer, then GM Dale Tallon will experience a difficult time trying to move Reimer and his contract if needed.
The 30-year-old native of Manitoba will unequivocally play a critical role, seeing Roberto Luongo isn’t getting any younger and is struggling to avoid the injury bug on a season basis.
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Quite frankly, I truly expect a solid, bounce-back 2019 season from Florida’s backup netminder. James Reimer will likely play around 35-40 games, meaning his workload will decrease from the previous season, barring another unexpected injury to Roberto Luongo.
However, since Florida signed minor league standout Michael Hutchinson during the free agency period on a one-way contract, that’ll likely signify that Hutchinson will receive playing time, as well.
Considering the Panthers will carry 3 goaltenders on guaranteed contracts heading into the 2019 campaign, the overall pressure on James Reimer certainly won’t be as high as years before. With less pressure, Reimer could potentially play more confidently, possibly resulting in more exceptional performances from the man himself.
The Panthers will undoubtedly play Reimer in instances where the Cats play back-to-back contests. Therefore, James Reimer’s ability to steal games on nights – in which the offense seems tired and non-existent – will be essential if Florida hopes for sustainable success in the coming season.
Reimer’s record will likely remain roughly similar; however, his goals-against average and save percentage will likely experience an increase.
Speaking from a somewhat unbiased perspective, James is a reasonable backup netminder who may not be worth his entire contract but is good enough to win you the odd game when needed. With more familiarity now in the Panthers’ system, James Reimer should experience zero issues in terms of adjusting and executing consistently.
The Panthers possess a stout group of defensemen, so there are absolutely zero excuses for a decline in James Reimer’s performance.
The Florida Panthers organization and fans should anticipate a relatively sound year from their backup goaltender, hopefully resulting in the Cats clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.