Any post-season progress for the Toronto Maple Leafs hinges on their goaltending. With Jack Campbell having just 29 combined regular-season and playoff games as a starter, they need someone reliable enough to help him share the chores.
The Toronto Star's Damien Cox believes Campbell's limited body of work and suspect durability should push general manager Kyle Dubas toward finding elite playoff goaltending. Philipp Grubauer is this summer's top free-agent goalie but Cox pointed out his poor performance against the Vegas Golden Knights in the recent postseason. Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury, Vancouver's Braden Holtby and Boston's Jaroslav Halak are available but their recent playoff performances were questionable.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun feels it's crucial for Dubas to find a netminder who can play 25-30 games to provide some competition for Campbell if the latter can remain healthy. He noted the availability of Halak, Linus Ullmark, Laurent Brossoit and former Leafs James Reimer via free agency. His suggested trade targets included the Arizona Coyotes' Darcy Kuemper, the Columbus Blue Jackets' Joonas Korpisalo and the New York Rangers' Alexandar Georgiev.
Grubauer, Fleury, Kuemper and Korpisalo are the best options among those suggested by Cox and Koshan. Grubauer could cost over $5.5-million annually and Fleury carries a $7-million cap hit, putting both out of the Leafs' range. Kuemper has good stats but he also has an injury history and a $4.5- million cap hit. Korpisalo has little postseason experience.
With just $9.35 million available and several roster positions to fill, Dubas' could be forced into the free-agent bargain bin. There's plenty of affordable backups but few suitable options. He could bring back Frederik Andersen but that move won't be considered an upgrade by Leafs Nation.