The Maple Leafs goaltending depth is by far their biggest need this summer. With the organization holding as many as 14 pick this upcoming draft I feel the time is now to take a shot at 3-4 of the highest ranked goalies in other organization. This is the time to try to stock the cupboards and hopefully develop the Maple Leafs own #1 goalie much like we are seeing now with Matt Murray in Pittsburgh. In my opinion, there is next to zero faith in Bernier being able to do anything for us, and with one year left on his contract here are a list (not exactly in order but somewhat) in opportunities for the Leafs to look at in the goalie crease….
1. Reimer again because he’s free and he is at the time of his prime years and has been great lately. The fans love him, he loves it here, his trade just got the Leafs potentially a 3rd round pick, and I can assume he would accept a decent deal to come back. Would offer 3 years 13.5-14 mil. Hope it gets done.
2. MAF because he’s a top statistical goaltender and can likely be had for relatively cheap for what he is. I would offer Bozak+picks/prospects or just Holland + picks/prospects depending on what they would want cap wise.
3. Freddy Andersen, but the problem is I think the Flames are going after him hard so the price will be high, the only reason he is available is because the Ducks have Gibson and the expansion will be coming soon. He is also RFA and I can see him commanding a deal 5+ mil. Steep price to pay after you lose assets to start with getting him, but he has been a great great goalie for a few years now.
4. Elliot would be nice but Im curious to what the cost would be. Allen is clearly their home grown guy and 6 years younger. Elliot is solid and only one year left until he is UFA. Plays behind a top D core in St Louis, and has won a few games for the Blues on his own this playoffs, so its hard to say how he will look in a new uniform. Blues if they cannot get by he Sharks this series will likely look to shake things up. Not sure what else they will want in a trade.
5. Bishop if TB resigns Stamkos, is clearly gone. One year left on his current deal and really good numbers, top 3-5 in the league, always seems to get hurt lately. I don’t like his style when I watch him but it seems to work and I am no goalie scout. Not sure the trade value he has but I would assume TB keeps him another year and loses him UFA unless they get a solid package. Pitts 1st round pick would be in play for him to start I think so its a steep price.
6. Kuemper is a solid goalie and playing behind Dubnyk for the next 5 more years. Solid numbers and the Wild will want a couple picks likely because they have traded so many away recently and want to replenish their scouts with more. Hes been a little up and down but I would like to see what he can do somewhere else.
7. Smith has three years left and is 34. A clear short term fix to buy us time to develop a goalie of our own. He has solid numbers over the last few seasons and with a 17.5 mil salary for the next 3 years they would likely accept a trade like Bozak as a swap to add a good veteran player who contributes and lower the overall payroll cost. We have also had rumors come from people on the HUB connecting Smith with the Leafs so this may have more legs then first thought.
8. Darling has been as good or better than Crawford the last couple seasons, but with Crawford locked up we all know they will go with him. Darling is UFA next year and with a 600k cap they might let him go to add something but who knows. I would assume a trade involving Cowen for cap help and a pick would get the job done.
9. Lehtonen could likely be had for nothing or close to it. He’s a good goalie but has had his struggles with the Stars sometimes. I question if the problem is their weak back end in front of him but without actually watching them a lot its just a guess. I think the trade is a clear salary dump because as of right now they have almost 11 million in goalies signed and playing the lower paid Niemi to play more.
10. Mrazek is one of my favourites but he is low on the list because of the potential cost. I think he is a top 5-8 goalie in the league when hes on his game but I dont know if the Wings will even want to trade him. He is RFA right now though and will command a 5+ mil contract no doubt.
Howard is the likely guy leaving and his 16 mil cap hit over the next 3 years should hurt his value. But hes been solid over his career and ended up being their #1 goalie to finish the playoffs. Who the hell knows what will happen with him but it should be interesting because they have flipped all year back and fourth. One wild card could be if Datsyuk decided to retire, his cap hit might be a trade chip before hand to a team with cap to spare like our leafs. Just an idea.
11. Al Montoya is UFA and could be a solid pick up. Has had many solid seasons behind different goalies, including a 2.18 gaa and .919 sav last year in Florida. Not sure the price but he would be a good gap goalie.
12. Wedgewood/Blackwood both are in the NJ system and they have Schneider signed for another 6 years. Either would need a good value trade but both have very high potential. Wedgewood was great in the NHL when he came up this year for a bit and Blackwood has been a good prospect for a couple years now. Interesting to see how the Leafs scouts would see them both, Lou does provide insight here. http://gty.im/469379128
Or would you simply keep Bernier and have Bibeau/Sparks back him up for the 2016-17 season and Draft more assets in this area of concern? The choice is yours……
This discussion is brought you directly from the East Coast by our own Jordan Angle. Thanks for the contribution….