James Reimer will need to stand tall for the Toronto Maple Leafs to have a shot at the playoffs this upcoming season. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mr. Proteau is away from the office, as is half the THN crew, but we never stop answering your question. The Ryans, Dixon and Kennedy, step up as fill-ins this week.
And don't forget to tune into The Hockey News Radio Show Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. on XM Satellite Radio NHL Home Ice where guest host, managing editor Edward Fraser, will answer more reader queries.
Keep those questions coming.
Is James Reimer for real? Do you think that he can be a full-time stopper in the pressure cooker of Toronto. I think that it's a lot of pressure to put on a guy who hasn't been a main goalie for a full season.
Kody Farrow, Dalmeny, Sask.
I know it’s not the most tangible thing in the world, but I really like Reimer’s attitude. He's focused, hard-working and, though he's not the most extroverted guy, very competitive. I think his even manner gives him a great shot at handling the Toronto glare.
As for his play, certainly it will be interesting to see what happens when the book on him develops a few more chapters with increased exposure. What we do know is Reimer has good size, positioning and athleticism. I think there's always a tendency to dismiss players who seem to come out of nowhere after being late picks (Reimer was 99th overall in 2006), but don’t forget, if there's one position where guys wander in from the hinterlands of the draft to become stars, it's goalie.
Vezina and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas was picked 217th overall in '94; Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne was 258th in '04; Henrik Lundqvist, maybe the most consistent stopper since the end of the lockout, was 205th in 2000.
I can't say for certain that Reimer will follow that precedent, but I think he has a legit shot to become a steady starter. - RD
With the recent rejection of the bond issue on Long Island is there any chance the Islanders will move? If so is there any chance they look at Cleveland as a possible destination? Cleveland has a hockey-ready downtown arena and natural rivalries with Columbus, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo.
Thanks, Dave Kresnye, Cleveland, Ohio
I interviewed folks on both sides of the debate after the ‘No’ result came in and they all believe the Islanders will stay put, even past 2015 when the lease on Nassau Coliseum is up.
Owner Charles Wang wanted to pay for a huge development himself and it was shot down because of scope (The Lighthouse Project). Now, voters have shot down a smaller-scale concept because it would have cost them money. The most obvious answer to the solution now is a smaller-scale project paid by entirely by Wang and Co.
If the Islanders were to move, somewhere else in New York (such as Brooklyn or Long Island’s Suffolk County) would likely be the first option, while Kansas City has a brand-new arena without a pro tenant.
No offense to Cleveland, but it’s not in the running, particularly with the current NHL team in Ohio already needing a big year to keep fans happy. Adding another would cleave Columbus’ fan base and that’s not good for anyone’s business. - RK
I'm a Detroit fan and with Lidstrom probably retiring after this season, I was wondering if you think the Wings could re-sign Niklas Kronwall (he’s a UFA this summer)? And if they do, will he be able to take that next step and soften the blow from Lidstrom’s departure?
Brett Vandermuren, Amherstburg, Ont.
Assuming Nicklas Lidstrom retires at the conclusion of next season, you have to believe the Wings will do everything in their power to retain Niklas Kronwall.
Saying Kronwall is no Lidstrom is no insult because, well, nobody is Lidstrom. The hallmark of Lidstrom’s play is his super-human panic threshold.
Kronwall is a different beast. He impacts games with a thud, whether it is via a big shot or a crushing hit. He’s an upper-tier defenseman in the league, though probably not truly elite. He’ll also be 31 in January, so I’m not sure how much better he’ll get.
Detroit is always a team with a plan so who knows what the Wings might do in the wake of Lidstrom’s inevitable retirement. From where we stand, though, expect Kronwall to be a huge part of the Detroit ‘D’ for the foreseeable future. - RD
I’m an L.A. Kings fan. Do you think Thomas Hickey and Vyacheslav Voynov will be on the Kings’ defense this year?
Ramon Garyar, Spain
I can see Voynov getting the nod more than I can Hickey. Voynov is slightly bigger, led Manchester of the American League in points by a defenseman this past season and was quite productive in the Monarchs’ first round playoff loss to eventual champs Binghamton.
That being said, the Kings are pretty flush when it comes to blueliners and Voynov would have to outduel players such as Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez and Davis Drewiske for a spot – though injuries have a funny way of shaking up any depth chart. - RK
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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