February 27, 2016 2:30 pm
Updated: February 27, 2016 5:55 pm

Maple Leafs send goalie Reimer to Sharks in four-player trade

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer tries to poke check the puck shot by Buffalo Sabres center Brian Flynn during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y.

AP Photo/Gary Wiepert
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TORONTO – The James Reimer era in Toronto is over.

The Maple Leafs dealt the veteran netminder and young forward Jeremy Morin to San Jose on Saturday in exchange for a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2018 as well as expiring contracts in forward Ben Smith and goaltender Alex Stalock.

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“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. “Jeremy gives our group another versatile forward and a player that our coaching staff is familiar with. We’re excited to add them both to our organization.”

READ MORE: Matthias trade nets Toronto Maple Leafs more assets for their future

It’s the second transaction between the clubs in less than a week. Last weekend, the Leafs dealt defenceman Roman Polak and centre Nick Spaling to the Sharks for a pair of second-round picks (2017 and 2018) as well as the contract of forward Raffi Torres.

The trade ends a lengthy tenure for Reimer in Toronto which featured various highs and lows. A fourth-round pick in 2006, Reimer played more than 200 games for the Leafs, compiling a .914 save percentage. He played in both the starter and backup roles during a career which began in the winter of 2011 when Reimer burst on the scene as a relative unknown, nearly guiding the Leafs to an unlikely playoff berth.

The high point of his career as a Leaf arguably came during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Reimer went 19-8-5 that year with a .924 save percentage in the regular season before posting a .923 save percentage in a seven-game first-round series loss to Boston.

He offers the Sharks insurance at the goaltending position beyond Martin Jones, the 26-year-old who is starting regularly for the first time this season. Jones has a .916 save percentage in 51 games this season but has yet to start a playoff game in his NHL career.

READ MORE: Maple Leafs trade captain Dion Phaneuf to Senators in nine player deal

Superb through the first four months of the regular season, Reimer has cooled recently with an .869 save percentage in February. He is an unrestricted free agent following the season.

Morin was acquired by the Leafs from Chicago in a swap that sent Richard Panik to the Blackhawks. He totalled 28 points in 41 AHL games this season.

Toronto continues to unload its roster for future assets. In addition to Reimer, Polak, and Spaling, the Leafs have also dealt forward Shawn Matthias and former captain Dion Phaneuf in February. The club is likely to continue dealing ahead of the Monday trade deadline.

The Maple Leafs are in last place in the Eastern Conference standings with 52 points.

The Sharks are in seventh place in the West with 70 points.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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