Latest Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Is Absolutely Ready For His Debut

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The naysayers will tell you that Dennis Hildeby isn't ready for a Toronto Maple Leafs debut, in all reality, it might be the opposite.

While there is absolutely a want to allow prospects to develop at a gentle pace and not be rushed to the big leagues, we also must remember Hildeby’s playing history prior to landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It's not a scenario akin to Devon Levi or Carter Hart.

Levi was drafted in 2020 and went to the NCAA before his Buffalo Sabres’ debut at the tail of the 2022-23 season. He is a 22 year old that had no professional experience prior to his Sabres’ debut.

Likewise, Carter Hart with the Philadelphia Flyers; a 2016 draft pick that was already debuting with the Flyers by the 2018-19 season following a stellar junior career - again lacking that professional league experience.

Latest Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Is Absolutely Ready For His Debut

Dennis Hildeby, on the other hand, joins the Toronto Maple Leafs roster at 22 years old despite having only been drafted in 2022, already with 17 AHL games with the Toronto Marlies to his name.

Far from being his only professional experience, he also played 28 games for Färjestad BK in the SHL in his native Sweden between 2021 and 2023.

This isn't just any junior recruit being called up to debut when they're not quite ready. In fact, this might be the next step in Hildeby's development; he's simply another prospect ready to step up.

Win or lose, the Swede is going to add to his previous professional experience with at least one game in the NHL before the week is through, it'd seem.

The notion that the Toronto Maple Leafs may somehow harm the ongoing development of Hildeby seems to be an opinion founded on promoting players direct out of junior hockey to the big leagues.

This isn't that same scenario and while it still offers zero guarantees (just ask Filip Gustavsson), the big Swede is better placed than most to take the step up as just another progression in his professional hockey career.

Perhaps the other reality of the goaltending position right now is that he only needs to deliver better results than Ilya Samsonov, who has put up a disastrous 3.94 goals against average and 0.862 save percentage, that put the Toronto Maple Leafs in this spot to begin with.

Hildeby will have at the very least a week of facing NHL players in practice and likely in a game scenario, he'll have the learnings of training alongside a veteran in Martin Jones and should have limited issue integrating into a locker room with plenty of fellow Swedes.

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Far from the lose-lose scenario, as some are painting it, this week can surely only be seen as a beneficial learning week for Dennis Hildeby.