Toronto Maple Leafs: Nothing Matters Less Than Losing Aaron Dell

Toronto Maple Leafs - Michael Hutchinson (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Michael Hutchinson (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost Aaron Dell on waivers to the New Jersey Devils.

The Toronto Maple Leafs did everything they could to maintain their goalie depth, but alas, it was not to be.  The Leafs played three games without any roster flexibility (i.e with Dell on the bench everyone who could come out of the lineup, other than Alex Barabanov, had to clear waivers to go to the taxi squad).

This was obviously an untenable position once Nick Robertson was injured, because it meant that the Leafs only lineup option was their opening night roster (again, unless they wanted to risk losing someone).

Since the least valuable member of the team is the third goalie who will only ever play in an emergency, when Robertson got injured (four weeks, huge bummer)  the Leafs had no choice but to waive Dell.

This really doesn’t matter, and its been sort of fun finding out that people even care about something so vastly unimportant.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lose Dell, But So What?

NHL goaltending is unpredictable and at the mercy of extreme variance.  You can have the best goalie in the world, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll perform.  At the pro level, the goalie is not only the most important player (hockey is, technically, a poorly designed game due to the importance of this one player) but he’s the rarest – there are only as many starting goalies as there are #1 centres – and the most mercurial.

In the NHL, the difference between an all-star and an AHL goalie is about three goals per hundred shots, and it takes a long time, like more than one season, for the sample size to be reflective of actual talent.

Thus, the position of goaltending is (while not technically quite random) very random seeming.  Take my friend Michael Hutchinson.  He was literally the worst player in the NHL regular season last year.  That’s literally in it’s correct literal sense, by the way.   The. Worst. Player.

But he individually won just as many playoff games as the team that dumped him. In fact, he played kind of great when he got the chance with the Avs in the playoffs.  It’s a mistake to think it was the team though – it’s just the position.

Hutchinson might have been absolutely brutal last season for the Leafs, but it was barely his fault – its just the way things went, and goalies are at the mercy of that kind of luck.

In reality, Freddie Andersen is probably a B-level starting goalie.  He’s good, and he’s somewhat reliable, but no one will mistake him with Carey Price.  The difference between players at the pro level, especially when we are talking goalies where even at three-per-team we are still talking about the 100 best in the world, is tiny.  Marginal. Microscopic.

The difference between non-star players is virtually non-existent.  If Michael Hutchinson and Aaron Dell switched jerseys for a full year, nobody would ever know.  There is no difference between them.

If the Leafs have to dress either for a long stretch, they are probably screwed either way (though not necessarily, I mean, anyone who  makes the NHL as a goalie is capable of an insane run).  The bottom line is this: What colour of shoelaces Auston Matthews is currently rocking matters more to the long term success of the Toronto Maple Leafs than whoever their third-string goalie is.

dark. Next. The Toronto Maple Leafs Top 10 Prospects

Michael Hutchinson and Aaron Dell are interchangeable and irrelevant.  If it comes to it, look for Ian Scott to get  a chance anyways.