Goaltending remains an issue with the Toronto Maple Leafs and vice president of hockey operations Dave Poulin says the team is looking at every opportunity to improve the situation.
Poulin joined the Bryan Hayes Show on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto on Wednesday and offered his thoughts on James Reimer, Ben Scrivens as well as the possibility of bringing in a new starting goaltender.
Reimer is coming off a season where he battled injuries and below average play, a step back from the promise that he showed in his rookie year. So Poulin was asked what the future holds for Reimer.
"I think it's a really tough body of work to judge," said Poulin. "We look back to the year before where he was tremendous for us the second half of the year, and he's got to come back healthy, and re-establish himself."
Having said that, are the Leafs comfortable going into next year's training camp with Reimer as the starting goalie?
"Once again, I think we're evaluating that right now and it may be a partnership situation for him and then they figure out who number one is by their play," added Poulin. "But we know the challenge is there to improve that position and improve the whole hockey club."
And then there's Ben Scrivens, who had a taste of NHL action this season and continues to enjoy success with the Toronto Marlies in the Calder Cup playoffs. Is he in the picture for next season?
"I think that's up to Ben," said Poulin. "When Ben signed here, it was on the heels of us committing to Jonas Gustavsson. So Ben knew he would be going to the East Coast Hockey League and he had offers from other teams that were guaranteeing him that they would place him in the American Hockey League. He's a confident young man and he said 'no.' In the first half of the year, he was the best player in the East Coast League and gave us no choice but to get him up into the American League."
When was asked if the Leafs would be in the running for a goalie who would come in and demand starter status, Poulin said every option is on the table.
"We're trying to make this hockey club better," said Poulin. "We know it was a challenge at that position this year, and it might work out very well to couple a group together, so we are definitely exhausting every avenue to make this hockey club better."
Even if that means taking on a big contract?
"We look at every opportunity," added Poulin. "I think each one is a separate entity to talk about and to evaluate and I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule that we can do this or we can't do that. As we go through here, we push and challenge each other to think and expand our thought process on how to make this hockey club better."