Tonight, while the Leafs get ready for game 31 against the Buffalo Sabres, we’ll wrap up our team-wide report card with the guys between the pipes and behind the bench.
James Reimer (5-2-2, 2.75 GAA) – Reimer started the season right where he left off last season, playing great, confident hockey and going 4-0-1 before suffering a head/neck injury against Montreal. He hasn’t looked quite as sharp since he came back, and was fortunate to get his first win against Carolina the other night. Still, his solid attitude keeps him from getting down when he’s not playing well, and I’d expect him to get back to form the more games he plays. Grade: B+
Jonas Gustavsson (9-5-0, 3.13 GAA) – A tale of two Monsters so far, as Gustavsson began the season in very shaky fashion, but after being threatened with the loss of his job due to a few strong starts from Scrivens, he seems to have found his confidence and begun to channel the form that earned him all the attention when he first came into the league. He hasn’t always been rock solid, but he’s found ways to win, and is looking like he’s on his way to having a bounceback year after a tough season in 2010-11. The biggest thing is that the team seems to have developed confidence in front of him, and with Reimer still getting back into top form, there’s an argument that could be made that Gustavsson is actually playing better than him at this particular moment in time. If they can continue to push each other, they have the ability to give the Leafs a quality 1-2 punch in net. Grade: B-
Ben Scrivens (2-4-1, 2.96 GAA) – The rookie obviously isn’t ready for full-time NHL duty, and hopefully he won’t be forced into it again for some time. While he didn’t put up great numbers this time around, he did have some impressive performances and gives us plenty to hope for in the future. He’ll have to continue to fight for starts in the AHL with Mark Owuya having a good season, so he should only continue to get better. Grade: C
Ron Wilson - The embattled Leafs’ bench boss was considered to have one of the hottest seats in the league at the start of the year, and his team responded with a great opening month.He’ll never be a media darling, but he’s obviously got the respect of his players, and the new assistant coaches have obviously helped him out. The powerplay has been a revelation when compared to seasons past, with the only real drawback being the penalty kill. I’d still say he needs a playoff berth to secure a contract extension, but he’s on his way there at the moment. Grade: B+