The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Now Paying the Price For Their Lack of Foresight

Regrettable trades, poor player development, a changing identity, and bad luck have all contributed to the Leafs current plight. As their best players reach their prime years, they have multiple holes to fill and limited options.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Leafs Search For a Top Goalie Continues

The Maple Leafs general manager before Dubas, Lou Lameriello, recognized that a goalie was needed to stabilize a young team. He acquired goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks in 2016.

Andersen had some good moments as Leaf, but untimely, soft goals during the playoffs were his undoing. He moved on to the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent.

Next, came Jack Campbell, who was acquired through trade from the Los Angeles Kings. The Leafs gambled that they could help the former first-round pick (11th overall in 2010) reach his potential and become a number-one goalie.

Campbell became a fan favorite for the Maple Leafs, but he too let in too many questionable goals,
none more backbreaking than Game 7 versus the Montreal Canadiens in 2021.

The Leafs wisely moved on from Campbell and let him sign with the Edmonton Oilers in free agency.

The team's pattern of betting on the upside of a young goalie from outside the organization continued with Ilya Samsonov. The Leafs signed Samsonov to back-to-back 1-year deals, but inconsistency ruled his tenure. He is not likely to return next season.

It has left the Maple Leafs with few options. One, they could take a huge risk and trade a talent like Marner to acquire someone they hope will solidify their goaltending. Two, they let Woll handle the load with his significant history of injuries. Neither is ideal.

The Leafs have a long history of goaltenders who led underdog teams to upset series victories in the playoffs. Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph, and Ed Belfour had many moments of postseason brilliance.

Now, with a talent-laden roster among the best in franchise history, the Leafs are still searching for a stud goalie to pair with it.

The Panthers, meanwhile, signed Sergei Bobrovsky to a monster free-agent contract well before they were considered title contenders. They are now reaping the benefits.

Finding a reliable, starting goaltender is not the only area where the Maple Leafs have erred.