Training camp is still two months away, but we’ve already started to get a little news on who the Leafs will bring in on a tryout basis. According to the Czech outlet iSport, former Flyers (and Caps and Sabres) goaltender Michal Neuvirth will join Toronto for a shot to revive his career and get back to playing a meaningful amount of games in the NHL again.
Last season Neuvirth only played seven games with the Flyers and just a single game at the AHL level, having his season completely derailed by injuries. As far as his chances with the Leafs go, it’s anyone’s guess; Neuvirth’s career has been quite up and down to this point, but in 2017-18 he did post a .915 save-percentage for the Flyers in 22 appearances. His career mark is .910, a bit below average.
Neuvirth seems jacked about the opportunity as well, according to what he told reporters.
“It’s a big challenge for me. When they called me from Toronto, I let go of all the other teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs; That’s an honour. Like Sparta here in the Czech Republic, such a Real Madrid of hockey” said Neuvirth enthusiastically.
This is admittedly pretty minor news as we get through the slowest period of the hockey offseason, but it’ll be interesting to see how Neuvirth does on this PTO. This is a purely no-risk move for the Leafs, and at worst should at least let them keep Andersen’s workload minimal in the preseason and allow the team to play as many Marlies as possible while hitting the vet minimum. As far as Neuvirth himself goes, he’s got 257 games under his belt at the NHL level and will presumably be going up against two huge question marks in Garret Sparks and Michael Hutchinson to nab a chance at being the Leafs’ backup. If he comes into September healthy, I wouldn’t think his odds are actually too far out.