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The Maple Leafs Goaltending needs a Serious Upgrade

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The trade deadline is now less than two weeks away and the Maple Leafs goaltending has been struggling a lot. Earlier this season Jack Campbell took full control of the net and ran within for quite some time. However, since the Covid shutdown (around January 1st) Campbell has fallen off, and Petr Mrazek hasn’t truly found his groves in the crease this season. The question is what do they do now? GM Kyle Dubas said last week that he “isn’t concerned about the goalie situation”, is this a bluff to the media to show support to his current tenders, or is he being serious? This article will discuss what the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending situation could result in.

Many would think that the management team in Toronto would like to sign Jack Campbell to an extension, and his play as of late has brought down his value significantly which can play into the Maple Leafs hand. There is a potential that the team can lock up Campbell for $3,500,000/$4,000,000 over three to four years, rather than the initial report that was out, where he was reportedly asking for $6,000,000 x six years. This can help the team with the cap going into next season, but that leaves Petr Mrazek, and what they should do with him. 

It has been rumoured that the Maple Leafs may try to move his contract out this off-season based on him not working out as expected this season, but what if they try at the deadline?  Mrazek has a cap hit of $3,800,000 for the next two seasons after the remainder of this one, however, he also has a modified no-trade clause. This means he has a 10 team no-trade list and that can make it a bit more difficult for the team to trade him, but not impossible.

Ilya Samsonov:

This is one that I feel would be unrealistic but would be a blockbuster deal that might benefit all sides involved. Samsonov has been rumoured to be on the block and needs a change of scenery out of Washington. Although the Maple Leafs haven’t been known to be in on Samsonov, Dubas finds himself in a tricky place. The Maple Leafs goaltending situation is one they need to address, or their playoff hopes may fall short.

Things may be coming to the forefront, with the Jack Campbell injury, which will put Mrazek to the test for the next two weeks. Samsonov, 25-year-old has appeared in 32 games this season with the Washington Capitals and has put up a record of 17-9-3, with a 2.93 GAA and a.901 SV%. Since his career started with the team, he has had a decrease in play and some team issues, which is why I feel he will benefit from a change of teams. 

There has been some news around the league that Washington is also in on a goalie, one that carries a lot of weight within the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury has been linked to the Capitals and a few different teams such as the Maple Leafs. However, some insiders have reported that Fleury may not want to play for them, based on his trade clause and being a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins for years. Nevertheless, if he does agree to talk trade with the Capitals, I believe the Maple Leafs should get their foot in the door to be part of the deal

Maple Leafs Trade Breakdown:

The trade below is only highlighting the main pieces of the trade for all sides involved. The three teams are the Maple Leafs, Capitals, and Blackhawks, and the reasons why they could fit with the respective teams. This trade is not a one-for-one style deal, however, due to the moving parts that would be involved, we are going to stick with the three main pieces involved in the deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • Ilya Samsonov

Reason:

This trade makes sense for the Maple Leafs to be involved in, the Capitals would acquire a goalie they are high on, and this could push them to trade one of their two goalies, and Samsonov makes a ton of sense. If the Maple Leafs can pull a deal like this off, by parting with Mrazek and pieces, it would bring in a 25-year-old goalie who could be signed on a “show me” deal, like Mrazek’s current deal. The key to this deal is not only adding stability in the net but also giving the team some wiggle room in case they cannot resign Jack Campbell after this season and it could resolve the Maple leafs goaltending problems.

Washington Capitals:

  • Marc-Andre Fleury

Reason:

The Capitals have been open about looking for help between the pipes, and their link to Fleury seems to be strong. He would help improve their struggles in the net, but most importantly Fleury could give the Capitals the push they need to compete for what could be their last serious playoff run with their core

Chicago Blackhawks:

  • Petr Mrazek

Reason:

The Blackhawk’s new GM Kyle Davidson recently said that a rebuild is a direction that the team is heading in, and trading Fleury can supply the organization with assets. Acquiring a goalie with term and a decent cap hit such as Mrazek could give the Blackhawks a chance to focus on different team areas during the rebuild.

There are a lot of rumours circling in the media regarding who is going where, and who the Maple Leafs are interested in. With that said, I think there is one name that hasn’t been tied to the team that they should pursue, and I feel that this is how the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending can be resolved.

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