Has anything actually changed in goal for the Leafs in the past decade?

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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

You know, when you think about the Leafs’ goaltending saga for the last ten years, it becomes pretty obvious that it relies heavily on the same handful of teams and names. In fact, I don’t know if the story has ever actually changed; we might just be shuffling the same Rubik’s cube here again, again, and again.

Once upon a time, the Toronto Maple Leafs decided that Andrew Raycroft, who they acquired from the Boston Bruins, might not be the right guy for them. So they approached the San Jose Sharks and traded for Vesa Toskala. Years before this, the Sharks famously opted to trade Mikka Kiprusoff to the Calgary Flames instead of Vesa Toskala to solve their prospect log-jam. Both of these goaltending acquisitions were the work of John Ferguson Jr, who was eventually fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, moved on to the San Jose Sharks, and now works for the Boston Bruins.

Vesa Toskala stole the starting job from Andrew Raycroft, but he wasn’t very good; just better than extremely bad. So the Leafs decided that they needed another goaltender to support him. Leafs GM Brian Burke, who is now the President of the Calgary Flames, wanted his own guy, so he signed a man named Jonas Gustavsson. Andrew Raycroft left for Colorado.

The same thing happened the next year. Jonas Gustavsson was better than Vesa Toskala, but that wasn’t enough, so the Leafs decided they need to make a deal again. They traded Vesa Toskala to the Anaheim Ducks, who were then coached by Randy Carlyle, and got back Jean-Sebastian Giguere. The Ducks didn’t like Vesa Toskala very much and traded him to the Calgary Flames for Curtis McElhinney.

Jean-Sebastian Giguere became the starting goalie, but then he got hurt, so he the Leafs called up James Reimer, who Dallas Eakins was relying on as a starting goaltender for their AHL affiliate. James Reimer took over, so the Leafs walked away from Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who left for Colorado. They held onto Jonas Gustavsson for a little while, but eventually walked away from him and called up Ben Scrivens, who Dallas Eakins relied upon as a starting goaltender for their AHL affiliate.

While there was a moment where the Leafs almost acquired Mikka Kiprusoff from the Calgary Flames, they decided not to. Instead, James Reimer had a very good year and dragged the Toronto Maple Leafs to the playoffs, but had a bad ten minutes, which led the Leafs to believe they needed somebody better than him and Ben Scrivens. So they traded Ben Scrivens to acquire Jonathan Bernier, who was the backup goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings.

James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltenders for a little while, initially under the watchful eye of Randy Carlyle. But they eventually decided to move on from them when it became obvious that neither was doing enough for them. The Leafs traded James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks, the team that originally traded them Vesa Toskala, who they kept instead of Mikka Kiprusoff, who the Leafs almost traded for but decided to run with James Reimer instead.

The Leafs made a trade with the Anaheim Ducks, and got back Frederik Andersen. The Leafs then traded Jonathan Bernier to the Anaheim Ducks. To help Frederik Andersen, they signed Jhonas Enroth, who was the backup goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings.

This season, that arrangement wasn’t working well for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today, the Toronto Maple Leafs claimed Curtis McElhinney, who was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames, off of waivers. They did this instead of claiming Jonas Gustavsson, who was also on waivers. Originally, their plan was to rehabilitate and sign Karri Ramo, who last played for the Calgary Flames, but that hasn’t worked out. To free up room, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Jhonas Enroth to the Anaheim Ducks. Enroth’s goal will eventually be to try to steal the backup spot from Jonathan Bernier. It remains to be seen which of Jonathan Bernier or Jhonas Enroth will be the one to be coached by Randy Carlyle at the end of their season, and which one will be the goalie that Dallas Eakins relies upon as the starting goaltender for their AHL affiliate.

  • DukesRocks

    Thanks Jeff, cool article, brought back memories albeit painful to say the least. Thank god we have a management team today to right the ship, compared to the idiots that took a storied franchised and crashed it on the rocks.

  • FlareKnight

    Oh well?

    I mean isn’t it a given that teams will continue to rotate guys until they find someone they can rely on long term? That isn’t anything remotely unique to Toronto. I’m not sure it’s an article on nothing having changed in goal than simply a tale of struggling to find a decent goaltender.

    Enroth wasn’t good enough so he had to go.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Jeffer thanks to explaining why Boston is starting to slide, they have Ferguson Jr. , that explains it. Your once a upon story should have started just a teeny weeny earlier as in once upon a time, there was the world junior tournament held out in Snowville, B.C. a.k.a. Vancouver. Now the Canadians as usual had a very good team including a young goalie from Penticton B.C. who had played in the W.H.L. and was drafted in the third round by the leafs. Pogge made the first all-star team, but he wasn’t the goalie of the tournament, no, no, no the M.V.P. of the tournament was this Finnish kid by the name of Rask that the leafs drafted in the first round that year. So now the leafs had their goalies of the future, namely Pogge and Rask. Now sane, normal, rational, logical hockey operations would give a first round pick maybe at least one game in the N.H.L. regular season to see how he would perform.

    Not the leafs, no siree not when you could get flash in the pan rookie of the year Andrew the sieve Raycroft. All lthe leafs had to do was give up was Rask who I see is in the all-star game again.

    So hopefully Andersen can be the man although he did have a touch of Toskalitis in the first month which could be explained by the injury in training camp but in the new year the toskalitis flu shot seem to being wear off as he has had three very ordinary games including a sieve performance against the hated Habs.

    Heh Andersen get to the doctor and get a second shot quickly.