Ron Wilson didn't come right out and say it, but it was fairly clear from what the Toronto Maple Leafs coach did say today that rookie netminder James Reimer is expected to start the majority of the team's remaining 21 games.
Even with veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere likely to return to action this weekend, Wilson indicated Reimer will get back-to-back starts against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday and Sunday.
"I expect [Giguere]to be dressed this weekend, but I'm leaning on Reims now," Wilson said. "I couldn't predict when J-S is going to play again."
Reimer was only so-so in the Leafs' 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night, but his numbers remain remarkable on a team that has recently shipped out three veterans that were playing pretty prominent roles.
Reimer has a 10-4-2 record with a 2.24 goals-against average and .931 save percentage since being recalled and filling in for Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson, who is currently on a conditioning stint with the Toronto Marlies.
"Whatever Ronnie decides is cool with me," Reimer said of how often he plays. "I'm just having fun playing and trying to win games. Whatever he decides, I'll be happy with."
Reimer has played back-to-back games once already this season and said that that won't be an issue for him this weekend.
"I've done it in the minors before," he said. "We've had a lot of games and not a lot of rest in between, so if that's what he wants me to do, I'll be ready for it. I'll be prepared for it. That's up to him."
Giguere, meanwhile, is anxious to put his health issues behind him, even though the possibility of surgery lingers in the off-season.
"If I tell them I'm ready to back up, that means I'm ready to play," Giguere said. "I'll see how pregame skate goes tomorrow and we'll know where it's going to be."
What happens the rest of the way for the Leafs in goal is going to be interesting, as Gustavsson's stint in the minors will end sometime next week. He's played well with the Marlies in three games, posting a 2-0-1 record, 1.24 goals-against average and .946 save percentage and is under contract next season.
The smart money is on Toronto carrying three goaltenders over the final month, which could leave Giguere as the odd man out of the crease provided Gustavsson has rediscovered his game.