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AGENT: Reimer Won’t Return to Sharks

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

James Reimer will test free agency.

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier suggested this in his April exit interview: “If I’m being honest, I would say we probably won’t bring back the same goalie tandem as we had this year.”

Exit Interview: Grier on Trading Karlsson, How Sharks Get Better, Not Bringing Back Reimer & More (+)

Considering that the 26-year-old Kaapo Kahkonen is already signed for the 2023-24 campaign and that Reimer is a UFA, the writing was on the wall for the 35-year-old netminder.

Reimer’s agent Ray Petkau confirmed this to Pierre LeBrun yesterday: “Mike and the team there absolutely love Reims but given where they’re at [rebuilding] it made sense for them to let him go. But he loved his time in San Jose.”

Reimer’s tenure in teal was up-and-down on the ice, and eventually, marred by controversy off it.

In Jul. 2021, the San Jose Sharks inked Reimer to a two-year, $4.5 million contract, his second tour of duty in the Bay Area.

During the 2016 Trade Deadline, the Sharks traded for Reimer to back up Martin Jones. Reimer went 6-2-0 with a .938 Save %, helping San Jose to the Stanley Cup Final, before he left as a free agent.

Just like his first time with the Sharks, Reimer was an immediate hit this time around.

Per Evolving Hockey, Reimer registered a 4.95 Goals Saved Above Expected in All Situations in 2021-22, the best Sharks’ netminding performance since Martin Jones’s 6.68 in 2017-18.

Reimer proved to be popular with the fans too, and also won the Media Good Guy award, voted on by local media.

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It was a different story this year.

Behind an admittedly more offensive attack installed by new head coach David Quinn, both Reimer and Kahkonen struggled.

Kahkonen’s -21.19 GSAx was third-worst in the NHL, out of 102 goalies, while Reimer’s -6.92 was 15th-worst.

Off the ice, Reimer ignited a media firestorm when he was the sole San Jose Sharks player to refuse to wear a Pride warm-up jersey on Mar. 18’s Pride Night.

On Reimer, LGBTQIA+ Community & Questions Unasked

Grier was asked in April if the decision to let Reimer walk had anything to do with the Mennonite’s Pride Night stance: “No, they’re two completely separate things. This is just a hockey decision that we think we need to make.

“I have nothing but respect for James in the way he handled the Pride Night thing. We live in America. He has his views and it does take some courage to kind of stand up and say what you believe in and stand by your religious beliefs. It wasn’t anything that was malcontent or coming from a bad place in his heart. I think he’s a good person.”

Petkau told LeBrun that multiple teams are interested in Reimer’s services. Free agency starts on Jul. 1.

So what’s next for the Sharks between the pipes?

What Went Wrong With Sharks’ Goaltending? Who Do They Turn To Next Year?

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