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Friedman: “I do believe that Toronto has dipped its toes in the goaltending market”

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Photo credit:David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
We’re 31 games into the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2023-24 season, and it’s no secret that goaltending has been one of the main topics of conversation, especially over the last couple of weeks.
Joseph Woll is currently sidelined week-to-week with a high-ankle sprain that he sustained in a game against the Ottawa Senators, so right now, the Maple Leafs’ goalie tandem consists of Ilya Samsonov, who has been struggling all season, and 33-year-old Martin Jones, who was signed as a free agent during the off-season.
When you look at the numbers, it’s clear that Samsonov has struggled with his play mightily, and with Woll still out with an injury, does Toronto want to continue to roll out Samsonov, who has a 3.79 GAA and a .871 SV%, and Martin Jones? I’m not too sure.
Saturday night, during the second intermission of the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets game, Elliotte Friedman’s Saturday’s Headlines included some Toronto Maple Leafs rumours, specifically, goaltending rumours. The Sportsnet insider mentioned that he believes the Maple Leafs have poked their head into the goaltending market, given their current situation with their goalies.
“I do believe that Toronto has dipped its toes in the goaltending market. I don’t expect anything to happen right when the [holiday] freeze ends. I think their hope is that Samsonov just gets a few days away, and they continue to work with him. Of course, they don’t have Joseph Woll right now, he’s injured, and I don’t think they believe bringing their AHL goalie, Dennis Hildeby, up is the proper thing to do right now, even though he is really talented and looks really good.”
Just reading that quote from Friedman confirms that calling 22-year-old Dennis Hildeby up to the NHL after just 15 games in North America is most likely not the right thing to do. The organization needs to keep the Jarfalla native in the AHL and let him continue to play and develop. He is currently 7-4-2 with the Toronto Marlies and has an impressive 2.08 GAA and .921 SV% this season.
The team either needs to continue to roll with Martin Jones and Ilya Samsonov (giving Jones the majority of the starts) or acquire a goalie with Woll still sidelined with his injury. The NHL is in their holiday freeze, so no trades or transactions can happen until after December 27th.
Let’s say Toronto was to go out and acquire a goalie. Who is even available, and how much would it cost? Well, Friedman followed up that quote above with another one regarding the teams that are carrying extra goalies.
“The other thing that I’m hearing out there, Ron, is that the teams that have the goaltending surplus… they know it, and what they’re asking for is a lot, especially if retention is involved. I just think that all these teams out here looking for goaltenders just find that they’re being extorted a little bit.”
The teams that come to mind right away that have a surplus of goaltenders are the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes (although they are having goaltending struggles also) and Buffalo Sabres, to name a few. The asking price will likely be high because teams know other teams are desperate for saves, and if a team needs to make a trade this early in the season with the trade deadline still over two months away, their price will be high.
It’s yet to be seen if Toronto will act on this rumour that Friedman dropped during the second intermission of the Maple Leafs game Saturday night, but if they were to go out and acquire a goaltender, hypothetically speaking, who would you want them to get?
If they were to get someone and Woll returns, would they waive/trade Samsonov, or would they put Jones on waivers like they did to begin the season? It’ll be interesting to see what they do.
(Stats from HockeyDB.com)

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