June 21: Pierre LeBrun of TSN updates the situation, reporting that the Panthers are still trying to trade Reimer. If they can’t, he suggests the goaltender could be bought out before the window closes at the end of the month. A Reimer buyout would save the Panthers nearly $2.5MM in cap space in 2019-20, but just $192K the following season and cause a $658K cap hit in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
June 14: When it became apparent that Sergei Bobrovsky was unlikely to sign an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets and would become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the Florida Panthers were almost immediately linked. Bobrovsky and Blue Jackets teammate Artemi Panarin are both expected to be pursued by the Panthers, but how they were going to be able to pull it off was unclear. Florida already has both Roberto Luongo and James Reimer under contract for at least two seasons at a combined $7.93MM cap hit, leaving little room for Bobrovsky to fit on the roster. That might be changing soon, as George Richards of The Athletic reports that the team is working on a trade of Reimer, while colleague James Mirtle also suggests the path of a buyout.
Reimer, 31, was signed to a five-year $17MM deal in 2016 to form a sort of tandem with Luongo in Florida, but struggled last season to find his game. A career .915 save percentage prior to 2018-19, Reimer was decidedly worse and finished the season with a 13-12-5 record and .900 mark. While his $3.4MM cap hit for another two seasons may limit his trade market somewhat, the contract itself includes no trade protection at all. Mirtle suggests that the former Toronto Maple Leafs starter could work as a complement to an inexperienced goaltender, and points to Calgary as a theoretical possibility.
The Panthers could retain salary in order to facilitate a Reimer trade, but already are paying some of Jason Demers contract. Teams are allowed to retain salary on three players per season. In one way or another, it looks like the Panthers are set to move on from the goaltender though it is unclear exactly when that would happen. The buyout window opens tomorrow, while the free agent interview period—and likely the first time the Panthers can speak with Bobrovsky—opens on June 23.