All is well now in Toronto (at least, somewhat) after the Maple Leafs rattled off three consecutive wins, including back-to-back victories over the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes in less than 24 hours. Toronto is now 7-4-2 and tied with the Detroit Red Wings for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Still, there’s plenty of reasons for Leafs fans to worry. The team lost goaltender Matt Murray to injury after just one game this season. Ilya Samsonov has been great as the team’s No. 1 starter, but left Saturday’s game against Boston with an undisclosed injury. Toronto had to sign AHL goaltender Keith Petruzzelli to an NHL contract Sunday morning to backup Erik Kallgren.
So, the Leafs begin the week with a goaltending tandem consisting of their third and fifth options in the organizational depth chart. Murray is on his way back and Samsonov probably won’t miss plenty of time, but it’s clear general manager Kyle Dubas needs to address the team’s goaltending before the trade deadline if Toronto is going to go far in the playoffs, let alone win a round.
With Jake Muzzin on LTIR, Toronto now has more than $4 million in cap space and should have more as we get closer to the trade deadline. If Dubas goes the trade route, here’s a look at three goaltenders who could be playing in Toronto by March.
Jonathan Quick is probably the best option for the Maple Leafs, even if he will be 37 years old in January. Quick is a proven winner who has won a pair of Stanley Cups in Los Angeles and is still playing well. He had a 2.59 goals-against average (GAA) and .910 save percentage last season.
He’s gotten off to a slow start this year, but could certainly stabilize the Leafs goaltending position and provide insurance in case one of or both of Murray and Samsonov struggle or can’t stay healthy. Quick has just one year left on a 10-year, $58 million contract.
James Reimer is another enticing name with just one year left on his contract. The pending unrestricted free agent is quite familiar with Toronto as he was drafted by the team in 2006 and spent his first six years in the NHL with the team.
Reimer is one of the most unheralded and underrated goaltenders in the league. A veteran of 441 games since 2010-11, he has ended each of his 12 seasons in the league with a save percentage above .900 and has a career 2.80 GAA and .913 save percentage.
This one is a little more out there, but makes sense if Toronto is seeking a more long-term option between the pipes. Because he plays in Arizona, Karel Vejmelka might be unknown to most casual fans, but he’s a solid goaltender who, at 26, still has some upside.
Vejmelka is signed through the 2024-25 season. He has a 3.68 GAA and .899 save percentage in just 60 career NHL games. However, his advanced stats are solid. He ranks ninth in the league in goals saved above expected this season. He’s also 47th in percent of shot attempts blocked by teammates, meaning he gets little help from his defense.
Dubas might also remember that Vejmelka is 2-0 in his career against Toronto and has allowed just three goals. He stopped 46 shots in a 2-1 victory last January and made 28 saves in Arizona’s 4-2 win over the Leafs this past October.
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