The Toronto Maple Leafs Best Option in Net Is Already on the Roster

Goaltending depth is a need for the Leafs. Proceeding with Joseph Woll and veteran backups is the right choice. Other options carry more risk.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Goaltending and finding a few defensemen are the biggest off-season needs for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs had one less option after the trade of goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils, and then Linus Ullmark was also traded to the Ottawa Senators.

With dwindling trade possibilities, a lack of suitable upgrades on the free-agent market, and much help needed on the blue line, it's clear what general manager Brad Treliving needs to do. Treliving appears interested in doing it, too, with rumbles that an extension with Woll is in the works.

Joseph Woll, supported by veteran backups, is the Maple Leafs best choice to fill their goaltending needs heading into next season.

Leafs Other Goaltending Alternatives Carry Too Much Risk

The Leafs were believed to be in on Markstrom before he landed with the Devils. Perhaps, the Flames didn't want to make a trade with their former GM. Treliving has other trade options, but none justify the risk.

Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators has been mentioned often as someone the Leafs should pursue. There are multiple problems with acquiring him.

He is an unrestricted free agent next summer, the cost would be high, and there is no guarantee he would provide top-level goaltending.

Even if resigning Saros beyond 2024, the Leafs would lose a valuable asset by acquiring him now although clearly the goalie market is not robust. They could sign him as a UFA in 2025, once John Tavares' contract comes off the books. Top goalies like Ilya Shesterkin, Adin Hill, and Ullmarkwill also be free agents next summer.

The price for Ullmark or Markstrom wasn't extremely high, but both the Flames and the Bruins were unlikely to accept a Maple Leafs offer unless they overpaid.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Best Option in Net is Already on the Roster

With more talented defensemen available in this year's crop of free agents, the Leafs should run with Woll as their starter and sign a couple of cheaper, veteran backups to support him.

By signing a veteran goalie or two to short-term deals, the Leafs can allocate the rest of this year's cap space to filling their needs on the blue line.

There is risk involved due to Woll's injury history, but the Maple Leafs don't lose any important assets.


Going in a different direction would be more precarious. Joseph Woll is the right choice in net for the Toronto Maple Leafs.