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Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is shown on Feb. 6, 2016. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is shown on Feb. 6, 2016. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Maple Leafs deal goaltender James Reimer to San Jose Sharks Add to ...

After nearly 10 years, James Reimer’s time in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization is over.

The Leafs dealt their long-time goalie to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon in a package for a 2018 fourth-round pick, backup Alex Stalock and forward Ben Smith. (The fourth-round pick is conditional in that it becomes a third-round pick if the Sharks make the Stanley Cup final.)

The Leafs also included minor-league forward Jeremy Morin in the deal.

Minus extraneous parts, the key to the deal here is Reimer for the draft pick, especially considering both Stalock and Smith are also pending unrestricted free agents. There had been discussions of some sort in the last few months between the Leafs and Reimer about re-signing on a new contract, but the reality is that the two sides can always get that deal done in the summer, when he is a UFA.

This way, the Leafs received yet another pick for an expiring contract and, if they choose, can get an extended look at their prospect goaltenders at the NHL level between now and the end of the season.

They can also explore other options in goal by looking at potential trades and free agents. Reimer coming back will be one option on the table, depending on how high his price becomes on the open market. (Calgary, Carolina and San Jose will likely be hoping to sign someone of his ability.)

The reason the pick the Leafs received was only a fourth-rounder, meanwhile, was the lack of suitors, as few teams were looking for a rental goaltender this year. San Jose was a good fit with Stalock struggling and Martin Jones in his first season as a No. 1.

The Sharks are also under pressure to have a strong postseason given their aging roster.

“James is an experienced NHL goaltender who will help add to our depth as we head down the stretch run of the season,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a statement.

Reimer was a fan favourite and the longest-serving member of the Leafs franchise dating back to when he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. His tenure with Toronto ends with 207 games played, an 85-76-23 record and a .914 save percentage, which is right about the NHL average.

Reimer had several promising seasons derailed by injury, and the biggest factor keeping him from establishing himself as a No. 1 was the fact he never played more than 37 games in a season.

“It’s definitely a weird feeling to be going somewhere else,” Reimer said.

He becomes the fifth veteran player the Leafs have shipped out in the last three weeks for picks and prospects, joining captain Dion Phaneuf (Ottawa), Shawn Matthias (Colorado), Roman Polak and Nick Spaling (both also San Jose).

He likely won’t be the last, with Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline fast approaching and P-A Parenteau, Brad Boyes, Michael Grabner and others available.

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April and James Reimer on the #tweetsweet campaign (The Globe and Mail)

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