Sports: Maple Leafs could face another goalie dilemma - PressFrom - Canada

SportsMaple Leafs could face another goalie dilemma

02:56  13 january  2019
02:56  13 january  2019 Source:

Leafs’ Andersen ruled out for Thursday matinee against Wild

Leafs’ Andersen ruled out for Thursday matinee against Wild Maple Leafs goalie Freddie Andersen won’t dress for Thursday afternoon’s home date with the Minnesota Wild. “We won’t see him (Thursday),” head coach Mike Babcock said of Andersen, who was scratched for Saturday’s game against the Islanders with a groin injury and has not played or practised since. “I don’t know if he can practise one day and come back. When (the training staff) tell me, I’ll know.” Andersen did work out with goalie coach Steve Briere for almost an hour prior to Wednesday’s full practice, and could get more work in on Friday. The Leafs host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Mark Zwolinski is a sports reporter based in Toronto.

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The Leafs have a surplus of backup goalies . Sportsnet posted an article recently, suggesting the one neat trick to solve the Leafs backup goalie surplus was to waive Curtis McElhinney, and then have him standing by available to call up for up to 9 NHL games before he’d need waivers again as a Plan

Maple Leafs could face another goalie dilemma© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It has been two weeks since the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Michael Hutchinson from the Florida Panthers to combat the outside chance that both starter Frederik Andersen and backup Garret Sparks could miss significant time. In those two weeks, the only goalie to appear in the Toronto net has been Hutchinson, as that outside chance has turned into reality. Saturday night, Hutchinson makes his fifth straight start, and again it is unproven emergency recall Kasimir Kaskisuo as his backup. Andersen is still recovering from his groin injury and now has the flu on top of it, while Sparks has returned to practice but has not been cleared to play yet as he fights concussion symptoms. A short-term stopgap solution has turned into a lengthy stretch with Hutchinson as the starting goalie and as a result more problems could be headed Toronto’s way.

Maple Leafs’ John Tavares going to all-star game

Maple Leafs’ John Tavares going to all-star game The sense that there is a flaw in the NHL all-star voting process is only going to grow after the announcement of the full squads Wednesday night. Centre John Tavares was the second — and only other Maple Leaf — named to the all-star game, which takes place in San Jose on Jan. 26. Tavares, who leads the Leafs with 26 goals, will join Auston Matthews, who was voted by fans as captain of the Atlantic Division team. All four NHL divisions were awarded captains through the fan vote, while the league’s hockey operations department selected the remainder of the players for each division.

(The Ducks are facing a rough cap situation ; the Leafs , meanwhile, have plenty of money to give Andersen the million or so AAV he’s going to But the move is also a reaction to the recently formalized NHL Expansion Draft rules, which will prevent teams from protecting more than one goalie .

The Leafs ’ only exempt goalie is Kasimir Kaskisuo. He spent almost all season in the ECHL before his recent call-up for the Calder Cup Playoffs. If the Leafs wanted to protect one of Martin or Fehr, one possibility could be to re-sign Ben Smith. Then the Leafs could expose Smith and, say, protect

Sportsnet’s John Shannon made note that when Hutchinson takes the ice Saturday night against the visiting Boston Bruins, it will be his ninth NHL appearance of the season — he made three starts and a relief appearance for the Panthers. When that number hits 10, which could be as early as Monday if one or both of Andersen and Sparks are not yet ready to return, Hutchinson will require waivers to be sent to the AHL. Waivers has been a thorn in the side of the Maple Leafs all season, as it is what originally cost them both Curtis McElhinney (PHI) and Calvin Pickard (ARI) before the campaign even began and what prevents them from moving Sparks to the minors without risk. Should that happen, more of a when than an if, Toronto will again face a goalie conundrum in which they would either have to carry three goaltenders or potentially lose Hutchinson on waivers. While Hutchinson struggled in Florida to begin the year, he has vastly improved since landing in Toronto, posting a .919 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average. He would likely be an attractive option on the waiver wire for many teams in need of depth in net. By no means is Toronto guaranteed that he would clear.

Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation anything but clear

Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation anything but clear Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation anything but clear

When Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer was injured 0:32 into Thursday's game against the Hurricanes, Jonathan Bernier took over in the net. While one goalie replacing another is no outstanding occurrence in hockey, Toronto was faced with a dilemma : what happens if Bernier goes

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The injuries to Andersen and Sparks could linger, and even if they didn’t, losing Hutchinson would be a blow to their depth in net. Toronto would yet again need to acquire a goaltender if Hutchinson is lost to waivers. On the other hand, keeping three goalies on the roster through the trade deadline late next month, after which roster limits expand, would also hamstring the team at other positions. There is no easy answer to the potential problem, as the waiver status of the team’s goaltenders continues to plague the Maple Leafs this season. During the all-important stretch run, and even more so the postseason, the team needs to be prepared for all possibilities, including one of their keepers going down yet again. While they had hoped Hutchinson would be that security blanket, that likely won’t occur without taking a major risk or making sacrifices.

Maple Leafs' Matthews 'pretty bummed' there won't be a 2020 World Cup.
Fans of best-on-best international hockey aren't the only ones saddened by Wednesday's news that there will be no World Cup of Hockey in 2020. Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews admitted he was "pretty bummed" upon learning of the news, he told reporters Thursday, via TSN. Matthews was a member of the ever-exciting Team North America during the 2016 World Cup, which consisted of a group of players from Canada and the United States age 23-and-under. Since the tournament preceded Matthews' rookie campaign, it marked the first chance for Maple Leafs fans to see their prized No.

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