The Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Unleash The Beast

Toronto Maple Leafs v San Jose Sharks
Toronto Maple Leafs v San Jose Sharks / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

In the ever-evolving world of professional hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs have unearthed a gem in their goaltending roster with the emergence of a young phenom, Dennis Hildeby.

This relatively unknown goalie that the Toronto Maple Leafs have found has been making waves in the hockey world (particularly in the American Hockey League with the Marlies) with his exceptional skills, impressive saves, and an uncanny ability to keep the opposition at bay...oh and he’s also huge.

Born in Järfälla, Sweden, Dennis Hildeby's journey to the NHL is nothing short of spectacular.

Growing up idolizing legendary goaltenders and honing his skills on local Swedish rinks, Hildeby's determination and passion for the game have propelled him into the spotlight, earning him a spot on the Toronto Marlies' roster.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Unleash The Beast

At just 22 years old, Hildeby has already become a fan favorite in Toronto but not with the Leafs. Instead, this six-foot-seven (yeah..that wasn’t a typo) goaltender with a calm demeanor under pressure and acrobatic saves has earned him the nickname "The Beast" among Marlies Nation.

His rapid rise through the ranks of the Swedish and minor leagues caught the attention of the Maple Leafs management, who recognized his immense potential. Due to injuries and lack of performance out of Toronto’s main goaltenders, Hildeby was called up recently but didn't start thanks to an extreme reluctance on the part of managment to let him play a game at this point.

Now, after being sent back to the Marlies, fans are going to have to wait a while before seeing him in action at the NHL level. Having seen Hildeby play live for the Toronto Marlies, I can say that he is an impressive goaltending prospect.

His mobility and size are reminiscent of a certain goalie in Tampa Bay. His composure in the crease is another aspect that separates him from other prospects as there are times when Hildeby can react to plays or shots with ease. With every game I watch, Hildeby is a standout player for the Marlies and does deserve a shot at the Leafs roster...for the time being.

Yes, Hildeby is a top goaltending prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, he is performing well with the Marlies. Yes, he is six-foot-seven and reminds me of Andrei Vasilevskiy. No, I wouldn’t make him a backup goaltender when Woll returns. Why not? Well, the answer comes down to experience. This is Hildeby’s first experience with the North American game (okay, he played 2 games last season with the Marlies, but still, this is his first full season). On top of that, Hildeby has no NHL experience at all.

My suggestion, from a management and coaching standpoint (seriously, Sheldon, take notes), would be to play Hildeby and try to ease him into the NHL atmosphere and NHL pace.

Hildeby never got an opportunity to play and showcase what he can do. Hildeby was sent down and swapped places with Samsonov. Samsonov was average in his return to the lineup, however, this was not enough to get the win. Trying out Hildeby at any point in the coming weeks (or even days) may be the adrenaline shot the Leafs need to turn their recent slump around.

From a fan perspective, how do I say this? UNLEASH THE BEAST ALREADY! I am extremely optimistic about the potential that Hildeby has. On paper, he seems like he can bring size, mobility, composure, and a great work ethic. We’ll have to wait and find out on the ice at the NHL level.


Regardless, all of Leafs Nation is looking forward to his debut, as Hildeby continues to hone his craft. The city that breathes hockey has found a new hero in their young goaltending sensation, and as Dennis Hildeby's stock continues to rise, the Maple Leafs future in the crease looks brighter than ever and I’m fully investing in it.