Toronto Maple Leafs: Jack Campbell Deserves the Net for Playoff Push

Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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If the Toronto Maple Leafs want to win the Stanley Cup this year and not lose in Game 7, they need to give the net to Jack Campbell for the playoff push.

Andersen is a good NHL goaltender. There’s a chance that if he’s the starter for a playoff run that the Toronto Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup. However, with a short window to win, you can’t take that chance when you have a better option already in the system.

After returning from injury, once again, Campbell secured his second shutout of the season on Saturday night. Toronto doesn’t typically win 2-0 games, so Campbell’s performance was a huge confidence builder for the team.

In eight of his 23 starts this season, Andersen has allowed four or more goals. Meanwhile, Campbell has only allowed four goals in his four starts this year.

In fact, here are Campbell’s and Andersen’s stats over the past two years as teammates:

Jack Campbell:

  • 2020-21 season: .964 SV%, 1.00 GAA (4 Games)
  • 2019-20 season: .915 SV %, 2.63 GAA (6 Games)
  • Career:  67 starts, .918 SV %, 2.52 GAA

Freddie Andersen:

  • 2020-21 season: .897 SV %, 2.91 GAA (23 games)
  • 2019-20 season: .909 SV%, 2.85 GAA (52 games)
  • Career: 392 starts, 915 SV%, 2.64 GAA (via: hockeyreference.com)

Campbell’s played in far few games than Andersen, but 67 career starts is enough of a sample size to understand a goalie. As a result, even though Campbell doesn’t have as much experience as Andersen, his career stats shows that whenever he’s been given an opportunity, he’s shined.

Campbell Deserves the Net

Whether it’s Campbell himself or the team just happens to play better in front of him when he’s in net, it doesn’t matter. The stats show that Campbell’s playing better than Andersen, so they need to give him the net for the playoff run to help Toronto secure home-ice advantage.

Andersen may be the starter and is in a contract year, but that doesn’t matter when a Stanley Cup is on the line. Over the past five years, there have been a few examples of goaltenders who have stolen the starting job and have led their team to a Stanley Cup.

In 2015-16 and 2016-17, Matt Murray stole the net away from Marc-Andre Fleury and led Pittsburgh to back-to-back Stanley Cup’s. Fleury had already won a championship as the starter with the Penguins, but that didn’t matter. Despite having only started 13 career games before their first cup in 2015-16, Pittsburgh ran with Murray and it paid off.

A similar narrative happened with St. Louis during the 2018-19 season. The team had fallen to last in the NHL, and lost faith in Jake Allen. As a result, they called up Jordan Binnington, who had only started one career game, and the rest was history. He played 30 games that regular season, had a 24-5-1, and helped lead the Blues to a Stanley Cup.

The goaltender position is a weird one and just because you think you have your “No. 1” netminder, it doesn’t mean you should play him, just to play him. Andersen has been given five years in Toronto to prove himself and every big opportunity he’s had, he’s failed.

Campbell may not be established but in the limited role he’s played in Toronto, he’s been confident and the team has won. With a 4-0 record this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs should give him the net for the rest of the way, until he falters.

Next. 3 Goalies Who Should Replace Andersen. dark

If Campbell’s able to provide a stability in net, he may be the solution to Toronto’s 54-year Stanley Cup drought.