Trading for Juuse Saros Should be the Toronto Maple Leafs Top Priority

The Leafs are desperate for a goalie.

Jan 22, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a
Jan 22, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are more desperate for a goalie than possibly any team in the history of the NHL.

Or at least they should be - the Toronto Maple Leafs aren't going anywhere with their current goalies, and they can't afford to waste a year of Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner/William Nylander's prime.

Martin Jones - hot streak aside - is not an NHL goalie. He's fine if both your other guys are injured, but you wouldn't want him in the building during a playoff game.

Ilya Samsonov's recent play makes a nice story, but he only even got another chance because of how desperate the Leafs were. He can't be trusted and it would be insane to go into a playoff series with any chance that you'd have to use him.

Joseph Woll might be a future superstar, but what he certainly is, is an injury prone rookie who has barely played a full season's worth of games over the past three seasons.

To say that the Leafs need a goalie is to say that human's need oxygen to breathe. The question is not whether or not they trade for a goalie - they are trading for a goalie - it's who they get.

Trading for Juuse Saros Should be the Toronto Maple Leafs Top Priority

Juuse Saros is 28, he has a career save percentage of .918 (Samsonov's is .904 and Martin Jones hasn't finished a season with a save percentage above .900 for five years and counting).

He is signed through the end of next season at a dirt-cheap rate of $5 million.

The Predators shouldn't trade him, and yet, NHL teams routinely do stupid things, so it would be dumb not to at least try. There are few goalies alive in the world today who are superior to Juuse Saros, and none with a better name.

The cost would be astronomical, but franchise goalies are few and far between, and since Nashville isn't likely to make the playoffs, they might like some ammo for their rebuild.

Give them their choice or Minten/Cowen, plus a first rounder, plus basically whatever else they want. Just add assets until they say yes, who cares?

Remember how a lottery worthy Canadiens team went to the Stanley Cup Finals because Carey Price got hot? Remember the Columbus series, both series against Tampa, or the loss to the Panthers?

I don't think that Brendan Shanahan needs anymore lessons in the importance of goaltending in the playoffs. Yes, there is a degree of randomness to goalies and no guarantees.

But short of landing Connor Hellebuyck, Ilya Sorokin, Andrei Vasilevskiy or Igor Shesterkin this is the best option.

The Leafs have used B-level goalies almost exclusively since Ed Belfour retired. The Leafs should at least try surrounding Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner with an elite goalie. It's not a crazy idea.

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As for cap space, it's not an issue. Nashville could take Brodie and the Leafs could fit Saros in for free.