Toronto Maple Leafs: Thanks But No Thanks on Recent Goalie Rumours
Apr 27, 2023
Apr 27, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) defends his net against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of options in net for next year.
The Toronto Maple Leafs could go with Ilya Samsonov, who had a great season but faltered in the playoffs somewhat before an injury forced the Leafs to give the job to Joseph Woll.
In order to move forward with Samsonov the Leafs will have to give him a raise on the $2 million he made last season. He's an RFA so they retain his rights and could instead trade him.
Samsonov had a great year but goalies are too unpredictable and there is no reason to give him a raise or a contract with term. Better to get some kind of draft pick from whoever sings him.
If the Leafs sign Samsonov, which will cost them capspace and forgoing the assets they could get for him in a trade, they will also have to pay someone to take Matt Murray or waste money buying him out, because Woll is for-sure playing in the NHL next season.
That makes re-signing Samsonov expensive. Better to just keep Murray at his nearly $5 million salary and pair him with Joseph Woll, and get a late pick for Samsonov.
This is my favorite option because it gives you a potential superstar goalie who is young and has a high ceiling and costs just the league minimum, and it pairs him with an injury prone, but otherwise solid goalie in Murray. (cap info from capfriendly.com).
When Murray inevitably gets injured, the Leafs have Erik Kalgren in the AHL and he's perfectly suited to be an NHL backup.
As to those rumours….
Both Philadelphia and Winnipeg are rumoured to have made their goalies available in trade.
The Toronto Maple Leafs shouldn't have any interest in either.
Connor Hellebuyck is annoying to spell and it is my nightmare that he comes to play in Toronto where I will spell his name everywhichway but correctly. Hellobot anyone?
Besides having a name that is impossible to spell, Hellebuyck is over 30 and expensive. He's also one of the only consistently good goalies in the NHL, which makes him expensive.
With one year and $6.6 million dollars left on his deal, this makes no sense for the Leafs. The Jets will ask for Nylander and that would be a horrible trade. There is just no reason any half-way intelligent GM would spend the assets needed to pry Hellebuyck out of Winnipeg. The fact he has no term might actually make his trade value higher, rather than lower.
If goalies were any kind of sure thing, I’d be all over this, but the odds that Hellebuyck is better than Woll next season are even money, so why bother? Too much risk too little reward.
Carter Hart has a four million cap-hit next year, and would be a good add if Philly would take Matt Murray and like a second round pick. That way, you have an even better set-up with Hart and Woll splitting games with whoever gets hot plays the most.
But there is no way the Flyers give him away that cheap. The odds are, a name-brand goalie like Hart with pedigree and a respectable scouting report will command a high-return. I doubt the Flyers would trade him if the return was just a 2nd iand no cap relief, but anything higher is too high.
In the end, the Toronto Maple Leafs shouldn't have any interest in either of these players.