Toronto Maple Leafs: It’s a Goaltender Issue, Not a Defensive Issue

Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a stop using his Warrior Ritual V1 Pro stick. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a stop using his Warrior Ritual V1 Pro stick. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a goaltending issue right now, not a defensive issue.

We should give Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell a big leash after his tremendous start, but the last few games have been ugly.

You can point the blame towards the defense, but Campbell has simply not been good enough for the past few weeks, or particularly months, since the calendar switched in 2022. He was deserving of being selected to the NHL All-Star Game, but his regression has been an unfortunate turn of events lately.

Campbell is a beloved individual and someone you want to root for. He’s a clear underdog and just because he’s struggling doesn’t mean the Toronto Maple Leafs need to trade for a new goaltender. Campbell proved his worth during the playoffs last year and was very good in those seven games against the Montreal Canadiens.

It was not his fault that the team didn’t advance but it has been his fault that the team isn’t performing up to it’s standards lately.

Toronto Maple Leafs Goaltending Needs to Get Better ASAP

In 36 starts, the Toronto Maple Leafs have scored three or more goals in 26 games. To make those stats even more relevant, since the New Year, Toronto has scored three or more goals in 13 of Campbell’s past 14 starts.

That’s incredible goal support for Campbell thus far. Despite the influx in offense, Campbell has allowed three or more goals himself in nine of those 14 starts, which is not good enough (stats via:

Despite allowing so many goals, the Toronto Maple Leafs still have 8-3-2 record. That’s a solid winning percentage, but the Leafs record should be even higher if they’re scoring so many goals every night. When you score three goals in a game, you should win closer to 75 percent of the time, compared to 61 percent, which is what that record would indicate.

It’s still a very good winning percentage that guarantees them a playoff berth, but it’s not good enough, especially when it’ll be so much harder to score in the playoffs.

When Toronto’s offense is rolling, they should win every night. They can’t get below average goaltending when games matter, or their season will be over.

Toronto’s overall defense isn’t that bad, despite many people thinking it’s comparable to an AHL roster. They’re 12th in goals allowed, 11th in shots allowed and have the sixth best penalty kill in hockey (stats via:

If Toronto was allowing a ton of shots and goals on the PK every night, you could argue that their defensive structure is broken, but they’re not allowing a ton of opportunities, relative to the rest of the league.

With limited shots on net thrown at him every night, Campbell needs to get better and it needs to happen quick. The fanbase can turn on a player very quickly and you’d hate to see that happen to to someone who’s such a likable player.

Next. What if Toronto Drafted Laine Over Matthews?. dark

If Toronto’s goal-scoring goes cold and Campbell keeps up this play, we could be in for a long losing streak, so let’s hope Campbell can get out of a rut and the Leafs top-six can keep scoring their way to victory.