Guess who drafted Reimer?

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Funny thing about James Reimer, who could very well become the Maple Leafs’ full-time starting goalie.

General manager Brian Burke, since taking over the club in November of 2008, has taken a scalpel to the roster, moulding it into something he thought could win while jettisoning most of the players whose services he assumed (damn you, Tomas Kaberle).

Reimer, though, was chosen 99th overall in 2006, the same year the Leafs drafted Nikolai Kulemin 44th.

John Ferguson was the GM when Reimer was picked, and though the Ferguson era will go down as one of the bleakest in recent Leafs history, it could turn out that in Reimer, Ferguson might have left behind an actual future cornerstone.

No one other than Reimer should be the man in goal when the Leafs play next, at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 1 versus the Florida Panthers.

Never mind giving the kid a chance to demonstrate what his abilities are.

At this point, the 22-year-old Winnipeg native, who had Lightning star Martin St. Louis shaking his head several times on Tuesday night in Tampa, is the best goalie the Leafs have.

From the hash marks

Give the Leafs credit for their resilience. When Colby Armstrong returned to the third period of the final game before the break with what the Leafs were calling a broken finger, that’s all you need to know about his heart. And Kulemin, mashed face, black eye and all, would not have raised an eyebrow had he not played against the Lightning ... Yammering about the way the Phil Kessel trade potentially will hurt the Leafs for years to come because of the absence of first-round picks has become a bit tired, but you can’t ignore what high-end first-rounders can do for a club’ turnaround. Steven Stamkos, taken first overall by the Lightning three years ago, is one extreme. But because of the excellence of Stamkos, there is a tendency to overlook defenceman Victor Hedman, who was chosen second in 2009, after John Tavares. Hedman won’t get the ink Stamkos does, but we’re willing to bet he will have as close to as big a role as Stamkos if and when the Lightning win the Stanley Cup again. Leafs director of player personnel David Nonis recently told the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons that patience is crucial. Why should fans be patient when management does not follow that path? ... It’s not all just natural talent for Stamkos. His work ethic was evident in the first period when he won a battle in the corner for the puck with veteran Toronto defenceman Francois Beauchemin ... Luke Schenn didn’t have his head on a swivel on Tampa’s first goal and that helped Simon Gagne drive to the net untouched. Schenn didn’t know where the veteran Lightning forward was until he turned around and saw Gagne re-directing Hedman’s pass into the net ... Yet another crushing check thrown by Dion Phaneuf. This time the hammered foe was Lightning forward Dana Tyrell, who needed help from a linesman to peel himself out of the Leafs bench on the game’s first shift ... Strangely, Stamkos and St. Louis did not record a point in the game, nor did Vincent Lecavalier.

Point shots

For the most part, the Leafs were the better team in the final two periods, but Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson (who, at 41, is two years older than Guy Boucher, his coach) was superb. If there was a market for Roloson, who was acquired from the New York Islanders on Jan. 1, does logic suggest there will be one for Jean-Sebastien Giguere? ... The Leafs’ five-game road winning streak, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 11 inclusive, was an anomaly. In their other 19 road games, the Leafs are 4-14-1 and have been shut out six times. All told, the Leafs have not scored in eight games this season ... Nice streak for the Leafs hitting the break: They’ve gone down 1-0 in 10 consecutive games ... Is there another Leaf more than defenceman Mike Komisarek who might use the all-star break to just get away from it all? With talk of an alleged punch to the face of a woman emanating from Los Angeles, Komisarek had just 7 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time in Carolina on Monday, and only 12 minutes, 23 seconds in Tampa. Komisarek was hurt for all but 34 games last season, and has been an on-ice bust this year. He’s playing nearly four minutes less a game than his career average, prior to 2010-11, of 18 minutes six seconds a game ... The break won’t keep the Leafs from getting their fill of the Southeast Division. The Leafs have lost their past three games, all against Southeast foes, and they continue with the Southeast when play resumes next week. Two nights after the Leafs play host to the Panthers, they entertain the Hurricanes and the world’s most controversial man, Tim Gleason.


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