The Toronto Maple Leafs have a new goalie.
Well, technically, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies that signed Minnesota State Mavericks goaltender, Dryden McKay, to a two-year AHL contract starting next season, and here’s why you should be excited:
McKay was the 2022 recipient of the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award which is awarded annually to the top US Colligate Player. The last three Hobey Baker winners, Cole Caufield, Scott Perunovich and Cale Makar, are all enjoying promising NHL careers.
Only two goalies have won the Hobey Baker Award since it was first awarded in 1981: Robb Stauber (1988) and Ryan Miller (2001). That makes McKay the first goaltender to win the award in over 20 years and the last goalie to win it became a Vezina trophy winner.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Dryden McKay
Dryden McKay was also a finalist for the 2022 Mike Richter Award which has been awarded annually to the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Goaltender since 2014, however, the award went to highly touted Buffalo Sabres prospect, Devon Levi. Former Mike Richter Award winners include Connor Hellebuyck, Thatcher Demko and Jeremy Swayman.
Just in case I haven’t named enough NCAA goaltending graduates, Johnathon Quick and Jimmy Howard also played in the NCAA. Still, Dryden McKay is only one of three goaltenders to win the Hobey Baker.
Dryden McKay isn’t just a flash in the pan either. He put up great numbers in all four seasons at Minnesota State University. He’s actually a four time Mike Richter Award finalist and a three time Hobey Baker finalist (including his win). That’s right, he was a finalist for Most Outstanding Goaltender as a freshman and every other year he played in the NCAA.
You’re probably excited enough, but just to make sure, here are Dryden McKay’s other NCAA achievements (EliteProspects.com):
2018-19: NCAA (WCHA) All-Rookie Team, NCAA (WCHA) Second All-Star Team
2019-20: NCAA (All-USCHO) First Team, NCAA (WCHA) First All-Star Team, NCAA (WCHA) Goaltending Champion, NCAA (West) First All-American Team
2020-21: NCAA (All-USCHO) First Team, NCAA (WCHA) First All-Star Team, NCAA (WCHA) Goaltending Champion, NCAA (WCHA) Player of the Year, NCAA (West) Second All-American Team
2021-22: NCAA (AHCA West) All-American First Team, NCAA (CCHA) Goaltender of the Year, NCAA (CCHA) Player of the Year
Now, McKay signed an AHL contract, not an NHL deal. That means he could technically sign an NHL deal with any team at any time, however, I’m sure the Toronto Marlies weren’t the only team bidding for his services. NHL teams probably enquired about McKay, but he was sold on the Marlies pitch.
My guess is that McKay was signed to a Marlies deal because the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have many open contract slots available until free agency begins on July 1st. Dryden McKay will definitely get an invite to the Leafs training camp this year and could even be signed out of camp.