Toronto Maple Leafs: Is David Rittich Better Than Michael Hutchinson?

David Rittich #33 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
David Rittich #33 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded for goaltender David Rittich but is he a better option than the stopper they already had, Michael Hutchinson?

Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs made a number of moves just ahead of the NHL trade deadline. One of the needs that they addressed was to upgrade the position of backup goaltender. It appeared as though the player they had between the pipes, Michael Hutchinson, just wasn’t satisfying his coach and general manager.

With Frederik Andersen on the shelf, Jack Campbell took over as the team’s number one keeper. Dubas then traded a 2022 third-round draft pick to the Calgary Flames for David Rittich.

Some believed it to be an odd decision because the Maple Leafs already had the spot filled by Hutchinson. Hutch wasn’t even the only backup in the organization. Veini Vehvilainen has also been patiently waiting for his chance to take to Toronto’s crease.

Toronto Maple Leafs Back-Up Goalies

On Tuesday night, Rittich faced off against the Vancouver Canucks. It was his third start for the Leafs, which eventually led to his third loss for his new team. Rittich himself admitted that his play was subpar. This raises the question of whether Toronto should either give Vehvilainen his second-ever NHL start and first for the Maple Leafs. It is an option but Hutchinson was actually playing well this season.

Historically, Rittich and Hutchinson actually have very similar statistics. In Rittich’s 133 games he’s played in the NHL, he has a 2.84 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. Hutchinson has played a total of 135 career games in the NHL. He has accrued a 2.77 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. The similarity is uncanny.

This season, both goalies have four NHL wins. Hutchinson earned them playing in just six games for the Maple Leafs, while it took Rittich 18 tries. Over those 18 games, Rittich’s goals-against average has been 2.98 and his saver percentage is .899. Hutch has been better. His stat line is 2.42 and .919. Considering Rittich’s fumbling to find his footing with the Leafs, it may be worthwhile going back to Hutchinson and seeing if he can offer a more steady presence for the club.

The organization does also have two additional players within the organization who may in future seasons get their shot at playing for the Maple Leafs. The Toronto Marlies feature goaltenders Andrew D’Agostini and rookie Joseph Woll. Neither of them has had a particularly impressive season with both men winning as many games as they’ve lost. They have both been giving up an average of over three goals per game. This suggests that the Leafs’ goaltender woes aren’t going to be solved by their Marlies stoppers.

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We will see what the Toronto Maple Leafs decide to do between the pipes and if Hutchinson gets the nod once again or whether Sheldon Keefe elects to ride with Rittich. Ideally, whoever gets the chance will thrive and allow Campbell the opportunity to rest. It’s unknown if Andersen will be healthy enough for the playoffs but if he isn’t then the backup position becomes even more important, which is why the Leafs need to determine who they trust when the games matter most.