Toronto Maple Leafs: Kasimir Kaskisuo Deserves Another Chance

ROCHESTSER, NY - APRIL 19: Toronto Marlies Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) makes a save during game 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs between Toronto Marlies and the Rochester Americans on April 19, 2019 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. (Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).
ROCHESTSER, NY - APRIL 19: Toronto Marlies Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) makes a save during game 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs between Toronto Marlies and the Rochester Americans on April 19, 2019 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. (Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images). /
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If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you likely know that there’s always at least one topic that writers like myself never shut up about.

In the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, there’s so much drama that there’s never a shortage of topics to over-analyze and write about. For years it was the need for a number one centre. Then it was the William Nylander contract. Then it was the Mitch Marner contract. Then it was the drama surrounding the head coach. And now, it appears to be the backup goalie situation.

Tired of reading articles on what the Leafs need to do in terms of Freddie’s backup? That’s unfortunate. Here’s another one.

It’s no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs need an answer to their backup issues and that they need it fast. In seven starts this year, the Leafs’ backup goalies have combined for a record of 0-6-1.

Toronto Maple Leafs Back-Up Goalie

The majority of these losses came from Michael Hutchinson, who hasn’t allowed less than four goals in any of his starts and in general has been struggling badly this year. One loss of the seven came from Kasimir Kaskisuo, who allowed six goals in his only start, a brutal loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Granted, I think Kaskisuo deserves another chance in the NHL.

I’m going to be contradicting myself big time here, seeing that I’ve been pretty vocal about the need to acquire a new backup goalie. But in the end, Kaskisuo was absolutely thrown to the wolves in the only opportunity he got.

The 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 16th was hands down the worst game of the season. The Leafs started slowly and the minute the Penguins scored their first goal, the game was a lost cause. Nobody was engaged, and Kaskisuo was essentially left to burn.

This game also came in the midst of the lowest point of the Leafs season. Right near the tail end of their losing streak as well as the end of Mike Babcock’s time in Toronto. And if that’s not enough, it was also on the second half of a back-to-back on the road. 90% of goalies playing their first NHL game wouldn’t show up and steal a win under those circumstances.

In the AHL, Kaskisuo is still putting together an impressive season with a record of 9-3-1 to go along with a goals against average of 2.46 and a save percentage of .914.

It’s clear that the Leafs haven’t been able to depend on Hutchinson this year. He’s had six chances and hasn’t been able to keep his goals allowed under four. And say what you want about the circumstances he’s had to deal with, but considering the position they’re in, the Leafs simply can’t keep waiting for Hutchinson to figure it out. They need wins and they can’t keep riding Andersen into the ground.

Having said that, I think it’s only fair to give Kaskisuo at least one more shot to prove himself in the NHL before they go out and spend on a different backup. Sure, he didn’t fare well in his previous chance, but does it not make sense to give him another opportunity behind a team that’s playing better, not perfect, but better hockey under their new coach?

Next. Leafs Top Prospects. dark

I’ve read too many articles grouping Kaskisuo and Hutchinson into the same group, under “Leafs backup goalies”. And I’m putting myself in that category. I’m guilty of that too. But really, it’s not fair to pretend that Kaskiuo has been just as much of a problem as Hutchinson. And I think he’s due for at least one more shot to see how he does in front of a better-looking Maple Leafs team.