Goaltender of the Future Lies Outside Toronto Maple Leafs System

Goaltender of the Future Lies Outside Toronto Maple Leafs System
Goaltender of the Future Lies Outside Toronto Maple Leafs System / Tom Pidgeon/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs have some exciting prospects in their system. Team scouts have getting the opportunity to see them perform in the stressful and meaningful games of their respective playoffs with the hope of seeing them one day called up to help the Blue and White find postseason success.

Dennis Hildeby is currently considered the goaltender of the future for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He was selected by the Leafs in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, 122nd overall. At age 22, he just completed a 40 game season with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL.

Hildeby posted a 2.42 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. (All statistics are via Elite Prospects.) That was still stronger than his goaltending partner on the Marlies, Keith Petruzzelli. The 25-year-old American stopper played 17 contests where he had a 3.55 goals-against average and a .867 save percentage.

Those aren't exciting numbers.

The Maple also have other potential candidates to take to the crease in the coming years.

Goaltender of the Future Lies Outside Toronto Maple Leafs System

They are Vyacgeskav Peksa and Arthur Akhtyamov. Peksa, who is 21, is a sixth-round draft pick for Toronto in 2021, where he was taken 185th overall.

He spent the season with the Newfoundland Growlers in the ECHL where he posted an unimpressive 3.71 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage. Akhtyamov is 22-years old and was selected by the Leafs in the fourth-round 2020 draft, 106th overall.

He spent the year in Russia, splitting time between the VHL and KHL. Akhtyamov played well in Russia's top professional league, playing 17 games for Ak Bars Kazan and earning a 2.51 goals-against average with a .921 save percentage.

Despite there being possible prospects who may one day fill the Leafs net, it's in their best interest to look elsewhere for the future. Specifically, they should be trying to poach Erik Portillo from the Los Angeles Kings.

Erik Portillo is a tall Swedish goaltender who wasn't included in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings before his draft year because he didn't rank in the top 12 for European goalies. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the third round of the 2019 draft, going 67th overall.

Portillo has played his was from the Swedish SuperElit league to the NCAA, where he played three years for the University of Michigan. This season was spent with the Ontario Reign in the AHL, That's because the Sabres traded Portillo's rights to the Kings in March of last year in exchange for another third round pick.

At age 23, his size of 6'6" and 225 lbs combined with his quickness are often a force that causes opponents to struggle. He has proven that his agility gives him the potential to become an NHL starter.

Portillo posted 2.40 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage playing for the Reign. The Leafs should be interested because Portillo has matured in different systems helping to prepare him to make the jump to the NHL after his drawn-out development. Portillo is on track to continue working his way up to the King's net, but the Leafs should take a chance and bring him into their organization.


Portillo is not a blue chip prospect, which means that a trade doesn't necessarily cost Toronto very much. However, his potential is clear. There's no guarantees Portillo makes it to the NHL, but from what he's shown so far, he's worth the risk.