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Highs and Lows for 2019: The Goalies

Last summer, I did a series that went over all of the Leafs who were likely to play in the NHL that season and explored the floors and ceilings of their upcoming season. And, in the content starved month of August, I’ve decided to bring it back again.

Much like last time, I’ll be looking at the best and worst-case scenarios for all of the Leafs, and in the best-case scenarios, assuming that they won’t be traded and they will be healthy. Obviously, that won’t happen, but it’s easier to assume in this case.

One thing I will be adding is that I will also look at last year’s evaluations and see if they were closer to their floor or ceiling, to give a better idea as to what to expect.

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Today, it will be the goalies, which is one of the few positions that hasn’t seen a massive revamp, aside from Garret Sparks no longer being on the team.

Apr 23, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) reacts after giving up a goal to Boston Bruins center Joakim Nordstrom (not pictured) during the first period in game seven of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Frederik Andersen

What happened last year? Last year, I had Andersen’s ceiling as a goalie who could be in Vezina contention, which is what he was for most of the season. But, my floor saw him falling off a bit due to fatigue from being overplayed again, which also happened in March when he had bad numbers and fell out of Vezina contention.

Ceiling: Honestly, I’m not going to get too creative with Freddy here, because last year’s floor and ceiling are pretty accurate towards Freddy’s time as a Leaf so far.

He essentially posts Vezina caliber numbers aside from one month, sometimes October, sometimes March, that tank his numbers and put him out of contention. Come playoff time, he’s fatigued, and not as effective (although he was really good last year).

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So hopefully, whoever is the backup is capable enough of playing more than 20 games, and can give Freddy some more rest this year, and put him in more of an elite caliber level of goaltending this year.

Floor: On the other side, if the backup only plays back to backs, Freddy is going to get overplayed, and as such, not do well at some point, get tired, and not be as effective in the playoffs.

So, once again, that’s his floor. And once again, it’s not really a situation that he decides on.

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Michael Hutchinson

What happened last year? N/A

Ceiling: Much like Freddy, Hutchinson’s ceiling and floor are more determined by situation and not numbers. Hutch had a brief stint with the Leafs during a stretch where they were hurting in net, but otherwise was on the Marlies until the Leafs made him their backup goalie in the playoffs.

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He was decent in that stretch, which is a lot more than what could be said about Sparks, so that leaves hope for Hutch to be a solid backup. Considering his history in Winnipeg, he is capable of even playing 30-40 games, so there’s potential that he could take some of the load off of Freddy.

So, that’s his ceiling: he becomes the backup goalie we’ve wanted, and is actually played on more than just the second half of back to backs, and gives Freddy more rest.

Floor: But, Hutch isn’t the only one fighting for the backup spot, as Neuvirth will be on a PTO and want to prove himself. In the event that Neuvirth wins the job, that leaves Hutch in the same spot as last year, being a depth goalie while getting starts on the Marlies.

I’ll get to that more with Neuvirth, but this isn’t out of the question, so it’s a very realistic floor for Hutchinson going into training camp.

Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth (30) makes a save against the New York Islanders during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Michal Neuvirth

What happened last year? N/A

Ceiling: Neuvirth has been all over the place in his career, and has shown signs of being a solid backup goalie, as well as also being a bad goalie as well. He’s coming off a down year, where he only saw seven games, and had a .859% save percentage.

However, he’s a career .910% and will probably want to prove himself, so there’s potential for him to put up a decent season, and lighten the load for Freddy.

Considering the fact that he can play 30 games, and can be good in them too, I’ll set his ceiling as making the team, and being a reliable backup for Freddy.

Floor: I’m not going to go super in-depth for this one. He’s on a PTO. Worst case scenario, he’s bad in training camp and we just don’t sign him. No big deal.


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  • wallcrawler

    This would have been better if you would have put your ceiling/floor of Sparks in. Other than that, I’d have to say it’s a good series concept.
    One thing though, I think you should have put in whether it was mental fatigue, or just being tired physically by the end of the season. Myself, I think it is mental fatigue. Playing him around 55 games tops, would give him more time to relax and take a load off.