NHL teams must meet the 23-man roster limit today, so to prepare for that, the Maple Leafs waived two extra goalies yesterday — Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard.
PHIL claims Pickard from TOR— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 2, 2018
CAR claims McElhinney from TOR— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 2, 2018
Curtis McElhinney, 35, has been claimed off of waivers today by the Carolina Hurricanes who recently had their number one, Scott Darling, suffer an injury. The Leafs acquired McElhinney on January 10, 2017 after their original backup that season, Jhonas Enroth failed to live up to expectations.
In almost two seasons in Toronto, and his initial few months in Columbus in 2016, McElhinney has produced the best results by any measure of his career. With 10 season in the NHL, playing very few games most seasons, he has an average, all-situations save percentage of .909, which is just below the league average for those years, which fluctuated from .908 to .915.
Universally praised for his commitment to the job of backup, the Leafs have chosen the younger, and very successful AHL goalie Garret Sparks to take the second chair on the Leafs.
Mike Babcock on #Leafs keeping Garret Sparks as backup:— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) October 1, 2018
“In McElhinney’s case, he’s an unbelievable man, great veteran. Sparks has been organization a long time, built himself a history. This camp wasn’t what got it done, it was the history and knowing the guy.”#NHL
Calvin Pickard has been claimed off of waivers today by the Philadelphia Flyers (home to a revolving door for goalies on IR). Pickard, 25, was acquired by the Leafs on October 6 last year in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas had taken Pickard in the expansion draft from the Colorado Avalanche.
Pickard played in only one game for the Leafs last season, but he was the number two goalie on the Marlies and finished 12th in the AHL in save percentage for goalies who had played at least 1,440 minutes.
It became clear as preseason began that the Leafs were narrowing their choices in backup to either Sparks or McElhinney.
The Marlies have a goalie depth chart that now includes Kasimir Kaskisuo, Justin Peters (PTO) and Eamon McAdam (loaned to the Newfoundland Growlers). So, that went well.