Detroit Red Wings: Can James Reimer improve in back-up role?

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The Detroit Red Wings made a couple of off-season moves to strengthen things up between the blue paint. One of those moves was to go out and sign two backup netminders to help with this, giving some better support to Ville Husso.

During free agency, the Detroit Red Wings went out and signed youngster Alex Lyon and veteran James Reimer to join the goalie rotation. While the team will only carry two to start the season, Husso will be the starter, and Reimer will serve as the backup.

Husso proved that the fatigue got to him in 2022-23, so the Red Wings had to invest in some help. Reimer is a proven veteran who fills that role quite well. After all, Reimer is a 13-year veteran of the National Hockey League (NHL) who is looking to come in and be a solid no.2 option for the Red Wings to rely on.

The big thing for Reimer is that he needs to come out and show some improvements from his recent performance. Since he’s 13 years into his NHL career, I’m not expecting him to further his development, but other factors should allow him to make improvements on the stat sheet.

Detroit Red Wings goalie James Reimer is looking to improve his performance.

In 2022-23, Reimer was the San Jose Sharks’ primary netminder. He worked in a 1A/1B tandem with Kaapo Kahkonen, and things did not go swimmingly. While some may have considered Kahkonen the better option, Reimer had the majority of the starts on the season, with 41 starts and 43 games played.

In his 43 appearances, Reimer played to a .890 save percentage and 3.48 goals-against average. He managed a 12-21-8 record last season between the pipes for the Sharks. Playing in San Jose for the last two seasons has undoubtedly been a challenge.

It’s part of the reason that it seems like an improvement is imminent in his move to Detroit. The Sharks have such a horrid on-ice product in front of Reimer that there was not much to like. Similar to that of the Red Wings’ early-rebuild rosters.

It was hard to ask for much from players like Jonathan Bernier between the crease for the Red Wings. Especially when the team in front of him was so poor, it was a similar situation for Reimer in San Jose. He had a tough product in front of him, and the level of play suffered.

But, in Detroit, things are seemingly trending upward. The team was nearly in contention in 2022-23, and at one point, the playoffs were not totally out of the question. With some big moves this off-season, the Red Wings have beefed things up even further.

For Reimer, his odds of improvement are high. He should be able to settle in well as a backup and be able to provide the Red Wings with clean outings between the crease. He’ll play second fiddle to Husso, and the Red Wings should be able to salvage something from the 35-year-old netminder.

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