Let’s talk, Maple Leafs fans. We want a goalie. Truth to tell, we probably want two goalies. Mrázek may or may not be one of them. Having a guy like Källgren or Woll in the AHL as the third goalies in the event of injury is fine.
The main issue, of course, is potential cap room. The Leafs will not have a lot to work with, even with some of the expected trades we expect them to make to clear cap space, and the free agents we expect them to walk away from.
That said, goaltending will be the hot topic for the Leafs’ off-season priorities. So let’s go shopping on the free agent market because what the hell else am I going to write about this time of year?
Darcy Kuemper: .921 sv%, 25.19 GSAA (0.46 GSAA/60)
Kuemper, 32 years old, is the best of the bunch statistically. He has a stronger track record, a more established history as an NHL starter, and he’s coming off a good season and a deep playoff run for the Avs. Also very likely to get the biggest contract in free agency, and therefore out of the range the Leafs can afford. But hey, if you’re gonna dream big then this is the biggest hypothetical fish.
Ville Husso: .919 sv%, 14.93 GSAA (0.38 GSAA/60)
Husso is 27, and coming off his breakout season in the NHL. He effectively took Binnington’s job as a starter in the regular season, though he lost it in the playoffs. It will be real interesting to see what St. Louis does with him vs Binnington. The latter has been their guy for the past few years, is more established/proven, and has a longer contract. The fact that he doesn’t have that much of a track record could make him MAYBE affordable for the Leafs? Similar to how the Leafs traded for Campbell, who was also 27 at the time, and also had 57 career NHL games... the exact same amount of NHL games as Husso has, as of now.
Anthony Stolarz: .917 sv%, 8.23 GSAA (0.33 GSAA/60)
Stolarz, 28 years old, was a former 2nd round pick by the Flyers and has already played on three NHL teams: the Flyers, Oilers and Ducks. He has 62 career NHL games over 7 seasons, and is coming off his best NHL season. He got long stretches taking over for John Gibson when he was hurt/struggling, where he played in 28 games on a young/not great Ducks team. He’s a slightly older and more experienced version of Husso, but may not have the same upside. On the other hand, his good season this year came on a much worse (and especially worse defensively) team than Husso did. The added benefit of Stolarz is he had the best GSAA of the bunch last season, so he’s coming off of two pretty good seasons in a row.
Eric Comrie: .920 sv%, 7.14 GSAA (0.42 GSAA/60)
Comrie is 26 years old, and the youngest/least experience of the lot. He is also a former 2nd round pick, this time by the Jets. He has also played for three NHL teams — the Jets, then the Red Wings, then the Devils, then the Jets again this past season. This season he got into his most games played: 19 as Hellebuyck’s backup, on a Jets team that missed the playoffs, and did pretty well. He hasn’t really had a full breakout and like Stolarz never really has a full season being a 1A or even a 1B. He had a nice backup season this year, but does have some pedigree.
Other than the above free agents, there are also some goalies who have been rumoured to being shopped who may be interesting at various levels:
John Gibson: older, not been good for a while, has a past being an elite goalie, too expensive for the Leafs.
Anton Forsberg: Was an interesting target for the Leafs at the deadline this past season but just signed by Ottawa to a nice contract, but they do also have Matt Murray and some goalie prospects coming up as well. He probably ain’t moving though.
Chris Driedger: had good numbers with Florida in a semi-limited role, had a poor year on a bad Seattle team this past season. Was good for Canada at the World Championship before getting hurt, still only 28, making $3.5 million for another two seasons. Don’t see why the Kraken would trade him either.
Adin Hill/James Reimer: The Sharks just traded for Kaapo Kahkonen (RFA), and also still have a 34 year old James Reimer ($2.25 million) and 26 year old Adin Hill ($2.175 million) under contract for one more year each. Both Hill and Reimer had a positive GSAA, pretty close to each other. The younger Hill would be more interesting, sentiment aside, but I’m sure the Sharks think the same thing.
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And then there’s this.