Florida Panthers: Commemorating James Reimer’s Time in Sunrise

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Goaltender James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the St. Louis Blues at the BB&T Center on February 5, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Goaltender James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the St. Louis Blues at the BB&T Center on February 5, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After three up-and-down seasons as a member of the Florida Panthers organization, General Manager Dale Tallon parted ways with the veteran goalie this offseason via trade. This article will mainly serve to dedicate James Reimer’s three-year tenure with the Cats.

Recently, the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes finalized a trade, in which the Hurricanes received G James Reimer and the Panthers received G Scott Darling (who was bought out immediately after) and a 2020 sixth-round draft pick.

Before signing with the Florida Panthers as an unrestricted free agent in the 2016 offseason, James Reimer carved out quite the successful career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Reimer spent roughly five and a half years with the Leafs organization, appearing in 207 NHL games and making 188 starts for Toronto.

With the Maple Leafs, Reimer developed into an immediate fan favorite, winning 85 games and helping the Leafs clinch one playoff berth.

Reimer would eventually be dealt to the San Jose Sharks, where he would almost win the Stanley Cup as a backup netminder during the 2015-16 campaign.

After the season concluded, Reimer signed with the Florida Panthers for five years, with an annual average salary of $3.4 million. His first season with the Cats was rather solid, as he established himself as a dominant backup netminder behind Roberto Luongo.

During the 2016-17 NHL season, James Reimer recorded a line of 18-16-5, along with a save percentage of .920 and a goals against average of 2.53. Reimer started a total of 39 games in his first season with the Cats, mainly because of Luongo’s prolonged injury.

Simply put, Reimer made a phenomenal first impression and started his Panthers career quite well. The Cats evidently required more starts out of James Reimer and he continually delivered consistent results and numerous quality starts for Florida.

However, the 2017-18 was a year which witnessed the beginning of regression for James Reimer. Reimer registered 42 starts for Florida in 2018, serving as the team’s main option in goal because of Luongo’s plaguing injuries.

James Reimer posted an impressive overall record, slashing a ratio of 22-14-6 in a season where Florida narrowly missed the playoffs with 96 points. Additionally, Reimer produced an adequate save percentage of .913 but relinquished significantly more goals with a GAA of 2.99.

Evidently, the increasing workload and starting responsibilities took a major toll on James Reimer’s performance over the years. The 2018-19 season was ultimately Reimer’s final season with the Florida Panthers, as he couldn’t produce satisfactory results on a consistent basis.

Reimer received 29 starts and produced a mediocre record ratio of 13-12-5. To make matters worse, Reimer recorded a horrific save percentage of exactly .900 and a GAA of 3.09. Essentially, James Reimer became a cap casualty after an unforgettable 2019 season with Florida.

With the emergence of Sam Montembeault, the Florida Panthers no longer required the services of James Reimer as their backup netminder. The Reimer trade was mainly completed for the primary purpose of clearing more cap space for two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

James Reimer was certainly a fan favorite with the Florida Panthers and truly played quite admirably in his first two years in FLA. Nonetheless, on behalf of The Rat Trick and the Florida Panthers organization, we wish James Reimer nothing but the best in Carolina and thank him for his services.

James Reimer could potentially revitalize his career with the Hurricanes, but he simply didn’t fit the future plans for the Florida Panthers.

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“Optimus Reims” will undoubtedly be missed, but the emergence of Sam Montembeault, acquisition of Sergei Bobrovsky, and selection of Spencer Knight ultimately compensate for Reimer’s departure.