It sounds like the Maple Leafs have added a former NHL goaltender to assist in the day-to-day goaltending operations next season.
After this year finished, Toronto took a hard look at their goaltending and decided Steve Briere wasn’t getting the job done in a way they would’ve liked. So, they didn’t renew his contract heading into the 2022-23 season.
That meant extensive research inside the organization looking at their needs, plus exploration on who they should bring in next.
Finally, after radio silence ever since the signing of Mark Giordano, it seems Toronto has found someone and his name is Curtis Sanford. In an article from NorthStar Bets’ Chris Johnston, he reports that Sanford “made a particularly strong impression” and is expected to join the Maple Leafs.
“By all accounts, the Leafs have cast a wide net since deciding not to extend a new contract to goalie coach Steve Briere last month. Word is they’ve spoken to a variety of potential replacements, including those currently employed by other NHL organizations. Sources say Curtis Sanford made a particularly strong impression. He’s expected to join the Leafs organization after working the past five years for the Vancouver Canucks in goalie development. It’s not entirely clear how the roles will be divided in Toronto’s growing goaltender department or when they’ll be announced publicly. But it’s telling that Dubas wanted to conduct an analysis of how that part of the organization could function best as a whole in addition to executing an expansive search for Briere’s replacement. Expect Jon Elkin to have a role as well – he worked in player development for the Leafs last season and is expected to stick around.” —Johnston
Repeating what Johnston stated above, Sanford has spent the last five years working as a goalie development coach with the Vancouver Canucks. At the moment, he’s listed as the goaltending coach for the Abbotsford Canucks, Vancouver’s AHL affiliate.
The now 42-year-old bounced around between the ECHL, AHL, and NHL before retiring after three seasons in the KHL. Sanford played in 144 NHL games and finished his career with a .904 save percentage at hockey’s top level.
As Johnston also reports, former Marlies goaltending coach Jon Elkin will remain in the organization and will be a part of whatever Toronto’s goaltending department looks like.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next in Toronto’s goaltending saga, who else they bring in, and of course, who else they sign if Jack Campbell doesn’t return (which looks likely at this point).
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