Toronto Maple Leafs Cannot Trust Joseph Woll With Starters Workload

Woll's Injury History A Real Concern For The Toronto Maple Leafs
Woll's Injury History A Real Concern For The Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs cannot make Joseph Woll their primary starting goalie next year.

With his occasional displays of brilliance, Woll is a player of immense potential, a beacon of hope for the The Toronto Maple Leafs future in the crease. However, questions about his durability and consistency linger.

Until Woll can demonstrate these qualities, the Leafs may be cautious about fully entrusting him with the starting goalie role.

Since being drafted in 2019, Woll has shown promise but has struggled to stay on the ice consistently. In his time in the AHL and NHL, he has yet to play more than 32 games in a single season. This lack of sustained playing time has raised concerns about his ability to handle the workload of a starting goaltender in the NHL.

As the Maple Leafs prepare for a transformative offseason, their goaltending situation remains a pivotal focus. They are not just aware but acutely aware of the challenges they encountered in net last season. They are resolute and unwavering in their commitment to rectifying them effectively, reassuring fans and management alike. 

While Woll was exceptional on the ice, the Maple Leafs need a more reliable option.

The Maple Leafs Cannot Go Forward With Joseph Woll As The Starting Goalie

There is no question about Woll's skill when he is in top form.

Since his NHL debut, Woll has a 23-13-1 record with the Leafs, a testament to his talent. He boasts a 2.65 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage (via HockeyDB). In addition to these regular season starts, Woll has made seven playoff starts in his young career and posted a 1.74 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage in those seven playoff games (via StatMuse). These achievements should make Leafs fans and management proud.

Before his injury this season, Woll was arguably a top-10 goalie in the NHL. Among goalies who made five starts before December 7th (Woll's injury date), Woll ranked 10th in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes and 11th in high-danger shot save percentage, which translated to Woll ranking 10th in high-danger goals saved above expected.

He was doing this all while facing the third most high-danger chances per 60 minutes among any qualified goalie over that stretch (via NaturalStatTrick).

While Woll's statistics at his age are impressive, we have reached a juncture in his career where we must acknowledge his injury history and the potential implications of entrusting him with a starter's workload. This is particularly crucial in a season when Leafs management has expressed their intent to be 'aggressive' in pursuing a Stanley Cup. 

The Leafs are in a win-now situation, and unfortunately the timing of their window and Joseph Woll's ascension to becoming a starting goalie do not match up. The Leafs can't rely on him because he's too injury prone, and they can't keep expecting to win the Stanley Cup without an upper echelon goalie.

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The Free-Agent Market is weak this year, and so the Leafs are going to have to go the trade route if they want to upgrade on Samsonov as their starter. Unfortunately, Woll just cannot be trusted to stay healthy.