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About Last Season: James Reimer Performance Review and Grade

A road warrior who put together a solid first season as the Hurricanes’ backup goalie

Carolina Hurricanes v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

James Reimer 2019-20 By The Numbers

  • Age: 32
  • NHL Seasons: 10
  • Games Played: 25
  • Record and Stats: 14-6, 2.66 GAA, .914 save percentage, three shutouts
  • Contract Status: Completed year four of a five-year deal at $3.4 million AAV

After finding success in Curtis McElhinney as the backup goalie to Petr Mrazek in 2018-19, the Hurricanes made an offseason trade to bring James Reimer to Raleigh to take on the reins of the backup netminder. The Canes traded away a failed goalie project in Scott Darling to the Florida Panthers, along with a sixth-round pick, to get Reimer, who had a pretty down year in 2018-19 himself.

The change of scenery seemed to pay off for Reimer, as the veteran goaltender put together a strong 2019-20 campaign behind Mrazek before the season got shut down. In fact, Reimer’s save percentage and goals against average were better than Mrazek’s.

Reimer’s 2.66 GAA ranked 20th among qualified NHL goalies, while his .914 save percentage had him at 21st in the league. With three shutouts on the year, Reimer tied for eighth most in the NHL, albeit in far fewer games than any of the eight goalies who had three.

What Reimer did really well for the Hurricanes this season was perform away from PNC Arena, as 16 of his 24 starts and 10 of his 14 wins came on the road. Two of his three shutout performances also came away from home.

Reimer started the Hurricanes’ first two road games of the year, winning both. He held Washington to two goals in a 3-2 overtime win for Carolina, and he followed that with a 47-save effort in a 6-3 win over his former team, the Panthers, down in Florida.

Reimer followed up his two season-opening wins with four straight losses, allowing four goals in three of those games. However, he turned a corner and really heated up in mid November, going on a long stretch of games exclusively on the road.

Starting Nov. 9 in Ottawa and ending Dec. 27 against the Rangers in New York, Reimer made 10 straight starts on the road. The Hurricanes won six of those games, which included a 2-0 shutout win in Detroit and a 4-0 shutout win in Calgary.

Reimer wasn’t perfect during the stretch, but he was pretty good. He did have his worst game of the year in Toronto in late December, allowing three goals in 5:10 before being pulled. He also gave up four in a loss to Ottawa and five in a loss to the Rangers to bookend his 10 straight road starts, but overall he performed well to keep the Canes in games away from home.

Those losses in Toronto and New York came in back-to-back games in late December, and they would be the last games the Hurricanes would lose in regulation with Reimer in net. In his last nine starts of the season, the Hurricanes won seven and lost the other two in overtime. He picked up his third shutout of the season in a 41-save performance against the Kings, however this time it came in PNC Arena.

Reimer’s last start of the season was a short one and a small footnote in maybe the most talked about hockey game of the 2019-20 NHL season, as he played just 6:10 before getting hurt in what would eventually become David Ayres’ famous win over the Maple Leafs.

Reimer’s injury in that game came to the lower body, and he didn’t recover from it before COVID-19 put an end to the NHL’s regular season. He should be good to go for the Canes when things pick back up.

All-in-all there have been a few rough starts and inconsistencies for Reimer in his first year with the Canes, but he has overall been a great backup goaltender that has pushed Mrazek all season. The Hurricanes should have the faith in him to throw him out there in a playoff game if needed.


How would you grade James Reimer’s 2019-20 regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (15 votes)
  • 68%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (91 votes)
  • 19%
    C - Average Performance
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
132 votes total Vote Now