Michael Hutchinson Is Great Depth Signing for Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 5: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson #30 returns to the dressing room after the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 5, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 5: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson #30 returns to the dressing room after the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 5, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Michael Hutchinson to a two-way, two-year contract worth $725K on Friday.

I was incredibly confused when the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Michael Hutchinson, but after thinking it over, I can understand the reasoning.

The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have the following goaltenders under contract for next season: Freddie Andersen, Jack Campbell, Aaron Dell, Michael Hutchinson, Joseph Woll and Ian Scott. That’s six goaltenders for essentially four positions. Campbell and Andersen will be the duo for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but what will happen with everyone else?

Next season is going to be a strange one and the league will most likely have a taxi-squad, meaning that each team can keep three goaltenders on their roster at all times in-case of an emergency due to the pandemic. That means that Aaron Dell or Michael Hutchinson will probably serve as a practice goaltender for the year, rotating into the line-up only if necessary.

That would leave either Dell or Hutchinson to the minors, paired with Ian Scott and Joseph Woll. With three goalies on the Toronto Marlies, would that hurt the development for Scott and Woll? Personally, I don’t think so.

Here are four reasons why the Leafs made this move:

Ian Scott’s Injury

Ian Scott suffered a hip injury last year that required surgery and kept him out of the line-up for the entire season. In fact, Scott hasn’t played a real hockey game since May 21, 2019 when he played in the Memorial Cup. If the AHL returns when it’s scheduled to on February 5, 2021, that would be 1.5 years between starts for the 21-year-old.

Back in May, Scott told The Toronto Sun the following in regards to his rehabilliation: “It’s going great….It’s a little weird being self-quarantined while you do it, but it has been good.”

Although Scott may be 100 percent healthy by the time hockey returns, that’s a long time between starts. Also, the Leafs do not need Scott to be ready for the NHL anytime soon, so the acquisition of Hutchinson gives him as much time as he needs to get ready for the season and develop properly.

Veteran Presence

When the Leafs signed Aaron Dell, it was a brilliant move in case Andersen or Campbell went down, as he’s a goaltender who can provide a quality start if called upon. Now, with the Hutchinson signing, it’ll mean that either Hutchinson or Dell will be with Woll and Scott at all times, helping their development.

Hutchinson and Dell have both started over 100 NHL games and have experience starting playoff games. As veterans to professional hockey, they’ll be unbelievable mentors for both Woll and Scott.

Although both Woll and Scott could have had a season filled with healthy competition, the presence of either Dell or Hutchinson everyday will show them what’s necessary to become a better goaltender and professional.

Expansion Draft

The most important reasoning for this signing is because of the Seattle Expansion Draft taking place next off-season. By signing Hutchinson to a two-year, two-way contract, the Toronto Maple Leafs can now protect Jack Campbell instead of making him available to Seattle, thus making Michael Hutchinson their unprotected goalie.

As a player with NHL experience, depending on who else is available, Hutchinson may be a player that Seattle would want to draft. The Toronto Maple Leafs did not want to be in a position where they had to keep Campbell unprotected, so this ensures they won’t have to.

Goaltender Depth

The last reason why Kyle Dubas made this move in my opinion, was strictly because of goaltender depth. Back in 2018, one of his first blunders as G.M. was losing both Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard to waivers.

From speaking to some individuals within the organization, they were flabbergasted that both goaltenders got picked up on waivers, as they never expected that.

As a result, the Toronto Maple Leafs were stuck with Garret Sparks as their only depth goaltender and we all know how that ended. That decision really hurt the Leafs, as they lost a lot of points when they had to start their back-up goaltender.

Next. Leafs Young Core is Just Getting Started. dark

Overall, this is a good move and people shouldn’t be too worried about what’s going to happen with Woll and Scott. Both goaltenders are young and although they may not see as much playing time, this will give them more time to develop and learn from a few great mentors.