|JS Giguere saves a shot against Florida. (Alex Urosevic/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Rookie goaltender James Reimer is on a Cinderella ride, getting the start on Saturday in Buffalo against the Sabres at HSBC Arena.
Second-year Leaf Jonas Gustavsson was lent to the AHL Marlies for a two-week conditioning stint and is expected to get the call in Rochester on Saturday.
Where does that leave Jean-Sebastien Giguere?
Sure, he’s going to be trade bait. But will anyone bite, especially since any team acquiring him will be on the hook for about $1.6 million US of his salary over the final six weeks of the season?
And, in the meantime, where does he sit in the pecking order of Maple Leafs goaltenders?
“I can’t tell you that. No one has said anything to me,” the personable Giguere said on Friday. “But, to be realistic, the guy playing on a particular night has to be considered the No. 1 guy — at least for that night.”
And, according to Giguere, so too does riding the hot hand of Reimer, who recorded his first NHL shutout on Thursday by stopping 27 Carolina shots en route to a 3-0 victory. In fact, Giguere dismissed the notion of any kind of goalie controversy, saying Reimer has earned the right to be back between the pipes again.
“James has been playing great and he deserves to play,” Giguere said. “His time in the minors really helped him, just like it did with me.”
Giguere, remember, has a no-trade clause in his deal. He expects to meet with general manager Brian Burke in the next week or so to determine what the team’s plans are for him.
Giguere loves Toronto. He wants to stay here. At the same time he understands the Leafs might opt to go with a youth movement between the pipes.
“I have lots of questions and no answers,” Giguere said. “I make a lot of money and it might be hard to move my contract. We’ll have to see.”
With apologies to the Miami Heat superstar, emailers have now started to refer to Reimer as King James.
Truth be told, young Mr. Reimer is far more calm cool and collected than LeBron.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get upset,” said forward Tyler Bozak, who was teammates with Reimer with the AHL Marlies a year ago. “He never gets rattled.
“I know it’s easy to say now but, even last year, I had this feeling he was going to be successful at the NHL level.”
Reimer said his phone “was buzzing all night” after he recorded his first NHL shutout on Thursday.
So, where does this laid-back personality come from?
“I get it from my dad,” Reimer said. “He’s always been composed.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard him raise his voice.”
Hands up if any of you out there can make the same claim.
Didn’t think so.
Former Sabre Clarke MacArthur would like nothing better than to have a big game against his former team on Saturday. MacArthur has registered just one point — an assist — in two games against the Sabres this season ... Our thoughts are with the Burke family. Saturday marks the one year anniversary that Brendan Burke, son of the Leafs’ GM, died in a vehicular crash on a snowy Indiana road.