Unsolved Mysteries: Why Didn't the Toronto Maple Leafs Trade for a Goalie ?

Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs will regret not trading for a goalie at the NHL Trade Deadline.

There were goalies available, and it was a buyer's market.

The Leafs had assets, and they had, if not cap-space, then a ton of flexibility.

They could have made moves, but they didn't. Was it because they believed in the guys they had? I don't think so, as I am much too cynical to believe that. If I had to guess, I would say that they viewed this year as a free-pass whose failure would be blamed on Kyle Dubas, and so they saved their bullets for next season so they could make twice as many moves when the responsibility was on them.

And that isn't a bad bet, unless the incoming MLSE President decides that Shanahan has got to go, then all bets are off. Knowing this almost makes me believe that the Leafs must believe in the goalies they have....but then I see those goalies play and I end up back where I started.

Unsolved Mysteries: Why Brad Treliving Didn't Trade for a Goalie ?

The bottom line is this: It's silly, no matter how he plays, to start a goalie in the playoffs that you waived during the season.

It's also ridiculous to rely on a rookie who has been incredibly injury prone during his young career. Add in the fact that he's coming off one of the worst injuries a goalie could have (high ankle sprain) and betting on him makes even less sense.

The stats bear this out: the Leafs currently have the 18th best 5v5 goaltending in the NHL. In all-situations they drop to 21st, sandwiched between Buffalo and Arizona. That's not good company.

There was a 27 game period this season where the Leafs were ranked 15th in 5v5 goaltending, and in this period they were 2nd overall, just an OT Loss against the 1st overall team away from being the NHL's best during this period.

So we have half-decent proof that if this team gets even league-average goaltending, they are unstoppable. So why didn't management go out and get a goalie who could provide that?

There isn't anyone on their current roster can guarantee that they can provide that. Woll has struggled since coming off the IR. Despite every effort to hand him back the crease, he hasn't been able to take it.

Samsonov has been playing pretty well, but even at his best it's clear the team prefers Woll, and Samsonov can't be trusted. Even after winning a series last spring the Leafs didn't want to sign him.

Even after they were the top team in the league (or almost, anyways) they still tried to give Woll back the job he stole last fall.

It's enough to make you wonder how they are going to do in the playoffs, since, statistically or otherwise, it is quite clear they have some of the worst goaltending in the NHL.

But more than that, it begs the question: What Were They Thinking At the Trade Deadline? Jakob Markstrom, Jordan Binnington, John Gibson, and Jusso Saros were all potentially available.


Brad Treliving and Brendan Shanahan chose to stick with what they had. If they don't already, here's betting that they'll regret that.