With the NHL trade deadline roughly one month away, the Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in familiar territory.
Though the playoffs aren't as certain at this point as maybe they should be, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an opportunity to make strategic moves that could help solidify their roster and add much-needed depth from top to bottom.
Throughout this article I will be showcasing a speculative look at some trades or scenarios the Maple Leafs could consider come deadline day (or prior).
Today, we will focus on 3 goaltending acquisitions Toronto could make this year to help round out the team's defensive play.
Potential Goalies the Maple Leafs Could Trade for Before Deadline
The Leafs' goaltending has been shaky. Game in and game out, the Leafs goaltenders are often inconsistent which can lead to many issues on the defensive side of the puck.
Here are some options the Maple Leafs could explore to help either support Joseph Woll or work in tandem (1A & 1B) with Woll:Jusse Saros, Marc-André Fleury, and Alex Nedeljkovic.
Jusse Saros, the Finnish netminder for the Nashville Predators, commands the crease with lightning-quick reflexes. Saros’ fierce competitive spirit is what keeps the mediocre Predators in each game.
Saros has emerged as one of the NHL's best goalies, and is earning much-deserved praise for his ability to make timely saves and swing momentum in his team’s favour. With a $5 million dollar cap hit, the Leafs could easily make his contract work with the right moves.
Marc-André Fleury, is a seasoned goaltender with a hall-of-fame caliber career, and has become synonymous with success.
A three-time Stanley Cup champion himself, Fleury's unmatched composure in net is what makes him a remarkable and reliable option for any team looking for clutch saves in the dying moments when the game is on the line.
Fleury’s veteran presence can help Joseph Woll by adding someone who can guide the young goaltender and work in tandem to help Toronto achieve success in the post-season. It also helps that ‘Flower’s’ cap hit is only $3,500,000.
Alex Nedeljkovic, the once-rising star of the Detroit Red Wings, has seen some ups and downs in his career. The 2021 Calder Trophy finalist now finds himself on the Pittsburgh Penguins having a quiet but steady season, boasting a 0.918 Save Percentage and a 2.60 Goals Against Average. (stats nhl.com).
While these numbers may not be anything special at the moment, it should be recognized that Nedeljkovic’s statistics are significantly better than Ilya Samsonov’s and Nedeljkovic costs $2,000,000 less than Samsonov. Freeing up $2,000,000 in cap space may allow Toronto to make other deals at the deadline, although the Leafs do have a ton of flexibility because of all their expiring contracts.
Overall, these three goaltending options could help the Toronto Maple Leafs solidify their Stanley Cup chances, and gain some form of consistency from their goaltending. If you have suggestions about who you think should be in the net for the Leafs as they make their final push, tweet me (@ShowtimeWagon) and let me know!