Rookie goaltender Joseph Woll inked a 3-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs a few days ago. Is this contract a hint of things to come?
Joseph Woll was a third-round draft pick (62nd overall) for the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2016 and made his NHL debut in November with a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
He went on to make 3 more appearances in the NHL before returning to the Toronto Marlies, following Petr Mrazek’s recovery from injury.
Currently recovering from a mid-January knee injury, he should be looking to stake his claim as the number one goalie for the Toronto Marlies if this contract is to pan out.
Joseph Woll and the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Could Woll be in line to be the Leafs next back-up goale? This lies in the details of the deal. Firstly, Joseph Woll comes with a very cheap cap hit. This current season, he’s on the last year of his entry level contract paying $800,000 a year.
With the new deal, he’ll actually drop a little annual salary, with his cap hit being $766,667. However, he is on a guaranteed $450,000 next season (per CapFriendly) on a two-way contract. The two seasons after that, it’s a one-way deal.
This is the detail that hints towards the team’s future plans. They clearly expect or at the very least hope that Woll will be ready to become a part of the Toronto Maple Leafs roster by that time.
Given the Leafs currently have a cheap goalie tandem in Mrazek and Campbell at a combined $5.45 million, they’ll no doubt be hoping to steer a similar course in the future.
A new deal for Jack Campbell is due this summer and with his cost likely being in the region of $4.5 to $5 million, you have to imagine the Leafs will be looking at Woll to back him up.
Or if they let Campbell walk, there’s the obvious chance that Woll gets an instant promotion to backup Petr Mrazek next year. Such is the team’s salary cap bind, in large part driven by tying $40 million up on Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Tavares, that the Toronto Maple Leafs may well have to opt for the unproven backup.
Is it a risk to run with such a young unproven option?
With the exceptions of Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers), Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers), Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) and Cayden Primeau (Montreal Canadiens); there are very few goaltenders of a similar age to Woll that are playing even semi-regular minutes in the NHL.
It appears the age for a goalie to finally make it to the NHL, ignoring those few exceptions, is 24. This does bode well for Woll as he’ll be hitting 24 just as his one-way deal kicks in.
Right about now though, Woll needs to recover from his current ailment and really make a strong run with the Marlies.
With four goalies currently on the minor-league roster, that’s not going to be the easiest task, but hopefully Woll can continue to cement himself as the Leafs third-choice guy. Doing so might give some greater hope for the Toronto Maple Leafs future between the pipes.