Toronto Maple Leafs Are Smart to Re-Sign Cheap Goalie

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 03: Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) makes a save during warm up before the NHL regular season game between the Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 3, 2019, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 03: Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) makes a save during warm up before the NHL regular season game between the Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 3, 2019, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed goalie Michael Hutchinson.

Hutchinson was acquired last year from the Florida Panthers, when Toronto Maple Leafs started Freddie Andersen went down with an injury.

Hutchinson was OK in net for the five games he played for the Leafs – and OK is all you need from a back-up goalie.

According to capfriendly.com the Leafs  will pay him $700K on a one year, one way deal.

This is a good deal for the Leafs as they get a serviceable backup goalie for basically the league minimum.  A team in a salary cap world – especially one who has an elite #1 option like Andersen – should never spend more on a back-up anyways, so this is hard to complain about.

Although one minor complaint is that I would have preferred James Reimer – for sentimental reasons.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Hutchinson

The Leafs are apparently shopping Garett Sparks – although who “shops” a back-up goalie coming off a bad season?  The return on Sparks will be pretty much nothing, so perhaps he remains with the Leafs and tries to regain some of his status.

Personally, I think Sparks took way too much heat last year.  For most of the year he provided OK, league average goaltending.  The team tended to be fairly awful defensively, and Sparks did not receive a ton of goal support.

But everyone needs their whipping boy, so might as well take your frustrations out on a back-up goalie with really no effect on the games or season.

One of the most ridiculous narratives to ever emerge from this city – and that is saying a lot – is that Kyle Dubas made some kind of grave error in shipping out Curtis MacElhinney and keeping Sparks.

Forget for a second that any NHL goalie can go on a bender at any time (C-Mac had a great year, as did Jordan Binnington and Sparks was considered better than both of them at this time last year.)

But why would a team that was on the verge of contending make a move that would result in losing their #1 goalie prospect, someone they had spent years and millions developing, and someone who was coming off a stellar season in which he was among the best goalies in the entire world not in the NHL, in order to keep a 32 year old career back-up?

It’s one thing to be disappointed in the result.  But to retroactively criticize the GM because a move that 100% of qualified people would have made just happened to not work out really detracts from other more legitimate criticism.

Dubas might one day make a bad decision, but if people complain about stuff like the Sparks/MacElhinney situation, how will we ever know?  The critics won’t have any credibility.

Next. The Leafs Should Trade Zach Hyman. dark

Anyways, Hutchinson is decent enough, and is exactly the kind of cheap, no-risk option the  Toronto Maple Leafs needed to get.