Maple Leafs Back-up Goaltender Concerns

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Oct 19, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson (30) stretches during the warm-up against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs need a better backup goalie. Frederik Andersen has been stellar so far this season. He is leading the NHL with 21 wins and is a big reason why the Leafs are currently the hottest team in the league right now.

The backup situation on the other hand has been less than ideal. In only nine starts so far this season, Michael Hutchinson sports a record of 3-5-1 with a .896 save percentage and a lackluster 3.59 goals against average while giving up at least four goals in six of those starts.

Hutchinson has had success in the NHL before so his struggles this season have been a bit of a mystery. In the 2014/15 season, he appeared in 38 games, posting a .914 save percentage, 2.38 Goals against average while going 21-10-5. Pretty impressive numbers for a backup.

The Leafs have reportedly been trying to make a deal for a new backup goalie for a while now. Due to their tight cap situation, and lack of trade market for the position, there has been no deal made yet, so the Leafs are forced to ride Hutchinson for the time being. The Maple Leafs even tried Toronto Marlies Goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo for a game after placing Hutchinson on waivers.

Looking at the goalie market, there are only two names that come to mind that the Leafs can try to make a deal for.

Leafs Goaltender Options

The first is the New York Rangers Alexandar Georgiev. He is 10-9-1 this season with a .909 save percentage and 3.17 goals against average. Georgiev would cost the Leafs a valuable top nine forward like an Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen, plus a pick. The rangers may also want to keep Georgiev given that he is still only 23 years old and have Henrik Lundqvist on the way out.

The second name was Eric Comrie. Comrie was on waivers a few weeks ago but was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings. Comrie would have been perfect for the Leafs because he would have been cheap and could fit inside the salary cap. The only problem is, he never really had sustained success in the NHL. Based on numbers, the Leafs would be better off sticking with Hutchinson.

With all that being said, Hutchinson, over his last three games, seems to have turned a corner. During this span, Hutchinson has three wins, a .945 save percentage and a 1.65 goals against average while also adding a shutout.

If Hutchinson can continue to ride this wave of success and play to his capabilities, the Leafs may solve their backup goalie issue without losing any picks or players in a trade. This would also give starter Frederik Andersen some well deserved days off down the stretch.

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