The Sharks have found the new backup goalie they were searching for, approximately 48 hours ahead of the NHL trade deadline.
In the second deal between San Jose and Toronto in less than a week, the Sharks acquired goalie James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin in exchange for goalie Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith and a conditional fourth round pick in 2018.
Reimer, 27, is the centerpiece of the deal, as the Sharks had been searching for an experienced backup for 26-year-old Martin Jones, who is still navigating through his first season as an NHL starter and has just two games of playoff experience. Stalock had struggled in the backup role for much of the past two seasons.
A veteran of 207 career NHL games, all with Toronto, Reimer is 85-76-23 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He appeared in seven playoff games in 2013, when the Maple Leafs lost to Boston in the first round, with a 3-4 record, 2.88 GAA and .923 SP. He is a pending unrestricted free agent with a salary cap hit of $2.3 million.
“James is an experienced NHL goaltender who will help add to our depth at that position as we head down the stretch run of the season,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement.
Reimer could be put to use quickly. The Sharks host Montreal on Monday in the second of a back-to-back, and if Jones plays Sunday in Vancouver as expected, it will be his eighth straight start and 16th in the last 17 games.
Morin, 24, has spent the season in AHL Toronto and Rockford. In 82 career NHL games with Chicago and Columbus, he has 22 points (10g, 12a) and 69 penalty minutes. A former second round pick of Atlanta in 2009, Morin played for Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott as a junior player Kitchener (OHL). He was traded to Toronto from Chicago on Jan. 3, 2016, in exchange for forward Richard Panik, and is a pending restricted free agent.
“Jeremy gives our group another versatile forward and a player that our coaching staff is familiar with,” Wilson said. “We’re excited to add them both to our organization.”
Stalock, a popular teammate who had been with the organization since 2005 and overcame a career-threatening nerve injury in 2011, was 3-5-2 with a 2.94 GAA and .884 SP in 13 games this season. His save percentage ranks last in the NHL among goalies that have appeared in at least 10 games.
Smith was acquired just prior to last year’s trade deadline from Chicago in exchange for Andrew Desjardins. The 27-year-old never seemed to fit in with coach Pete DeBoer, and was waived and reassigned to the AHL Barracuda on Jan. 21. In six games with the Sharks this season, Smith was scoreless with a minus-one rating while averaging just 5:59 of ice time per game.
"Alex and Ben have both been important members of our team on the ice but even more importantly, they are both tremendous teammates and first-class individuals," Wilson said. "They will be missed and we want to thank them for everything they have given to the San Jose Sharks organization and our fans.”
The NHL trade deadline is on Monday, Feb. 29 at noon PST.