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With Woll back, employing a three-goalie system makes the most sense for the Leafs right now

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Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 month ago
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need for the Leafs to rush to a decision on what to do next with Martin Jones.
Even with Joseph Woll now firmly back in the mix from his high ankle sprain, it would be in Brad Treliving’s best interest to slow play the entire crease situation for the next little while. At this point, Toronto’s yet to activate Woll off LTIR, so that could be the next domino to fall in this process. The 25-year-old was recalled from his AHL conditioning stint on Monday morning.
For starters, the trade deadline is now just 10 short days away. Simply put, a lot can happen over the next week and a half. Furthermore, the Leafs can use the allotted time to map out a strategy, one that would be probably involve paving a route to try and sneak Jones through waivers once again. Yes, they were successful in pulling off that dubious feat earlier in the year, but unfortunately, many teams are looking for goaltending depth this time of year. Jones would probably get claimed —unless the Leafs can find a pocket around March 8th to execute such a move. Never underestimate Brandon Pridham, though.
Of course, there’s the whole salary cap thing, too. That said, for a variety of different reasons, the Leafs do – in fact – have some money to play with over the next few weeks. That’s why the likeliest outcome – at least in the short-term – will be rostering three goaltenders. While that scenario is far from ideal, it makes the most sense as the Leafs continue to talk trade ahead of the deadline.
Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, there’s only a few potential options at play here. As mentioned, the Leafs could choose to employ a three-goalie system, which would help to manage Woll’s workload down the stretch. But again, long-term, that option probably doesn’t make an abundance of sense considering the team’s needs elsewhere on the roster.
Additionally, the least likeliest option to unfold would involve the Leafs trading Jones. Of course, they’ll have to survey the pros and cons of doing that. Over and above that, every team knows Toronto has a crowded crease, so it’s not like they’re going to line up to acquire the veteran goalie when they know he could potentially be available to them on waivers – at some point – for free.
Any way you slice it, it will be fascinating to see how the Leafs navigate through this entire situation. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Matt Murray, who’s reportedly been making substantial progress in his recovery from off-season hip surgery, could become available to the squad as well down the road.
Never a dull day in Toronto.

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