Toronto Maple Leafs: Will Jack Campbell be the Starter Next Season?

Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Jack Campbell turned Toronto’s goaltending situation from laughable to prominent

For most of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ goaltending was very concerning. That’s because Frederik Andersen could not find his game, forcing the team to score tons of goals. It came to no one’s surprise that Toronto began losing when the offense went cold.

With Andersen out with an injury, backup goaltender Jack Campbell emerged as the starter in relief. Now, he has caught the eyes of everyone around the NHL, posting record numbers for wins in a row. Has Campbell earned the starting job for next season?

Andersen started his career as a Leaf on a high note considering his above-average stats on a team that lacked defensively. In his last season under his five-year contract, everything has fallen apart. His .897 save percentage, and 2.91 goals-against average, are both career worsts.

The Leafs top-notch offense has scored enough to bail Andersen out, giving him a 13-8-2 record. On most teams, Andersen would have a losing record. Toronto needed a goalie to step in and at least play at an average level. Campbell took that assignment and never looked back.

He was dealing with injuries throughout the first half of the season. Had it not been for that, we would have likely seen his name pop up more. Regardless, he is exceeding expectations anyone would put in a backup goaltender.  He set an NHL record for the most consecutive wins to start a season with 11. That is an impressive feat, but he now has three straight games under a .900 save percentage.

Campbell has been the Leafs’ starter since Andersen finally sat out with an injury. His last game was on March 19th, so we haven’t seen the two goaltenders play together. One of the goaltenders has been fighting an injury all season.

The former LA King has never been a starter in his now seventh season in the NHL. He has either been a backup or an emergency goaltender. Now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he may have his first opportunity to show what he can do as the starter.

Toronto Maple  Leafs Decisions to make this offseason

Andersen’s contract expires this offseason, which brings up the question, “should Kyle Dubas bring him back?” Jack Campbell’s continued excellence would help strengthen his case to be the team’s starter next season.

Andersen is likely to miss the remainder of the regular season with his injury and remain on long-term injured reserve. Head coach Sheldon Keefe is optimistic for the goaltender’s eventual return, but I’m not. He will be out either for injury or cap reasons.

The next time we see Freddie would have to be in the playoffs. Coming off a nagging injury, I see Keefe relying on Campbell instead. If he struggles, then Andersen could be called back into action.

With nothing to help ease his case for such an atrocious season, Andersen is not likely to return next season. Between his poor play and what his cap hit would be next season, there is no room. With that cap space, general manager Kyle Dubas can re-sign someone like winger Zach Hyman.

Next. Trades That Effected the Leafs. dark

The way it’s looking, Jack Campbell is playing his way into the starting role for next season. At the very least, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have him and his $1.65 million cap hit, split games with another goaltender. What I do know is Frederik Andersen will not be the starting goaltender next season.