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Maple Leafs likely to explore the trade market for goaltending depth

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been ‘goalied’ in what feels like every playoff series in the past five postseasons. The time has come to put an end to it.
Heading into his second offseason as Leafs GM, Brad Treliving made it very clear he’s noticed. He wants change. He wants his goaltenders to be able to help carry the load and at times, put the team on their backs. In stretches, Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov showcased they could be up for the task. Unfortunately, it wasn’t consistent enough, injuries played a major factor and ultimately, when the Leafs needed the big save in overtime of Game 7, Samsonov couldn’t get the job done.
Treliving addressed Toronto’s crease at the end-of-year press conference on Friday and made things as clear as day, Woll moves on, Samsonov moves out:
As far as our goaltending, you know, I got faith in Joe. Now, like everybody else there are questions. There’s questions like, the biggest question with Joe is he’s gotten injured a lot. We have to dig into that. Sometimes that happens, sometimes bad luck happens. Is there a training issue we have to deal with, or do we need to change something in his off ice routine? All of those things is what we have to dig into. I believe in Joe as a goaltender. We have to support Joe. Ilya’s contracts up. But, we certainly have to put ourselves in a position where we don’t have the second-best goaltender in each series.
Samsonov might as well pack his bags, it’s obvious he’s essentially an afterthought at this point. Treliving believes in Woll and will work on finding the best offseason training program to ensure he can stay healthy for a full season and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As far as his tandem partner, that’s to be determined at this point.

Treliving’s Free-Agent Options Are Limited

While the Maple Leafs GM would love to have an easy fix via free agency and sign an elite netminder to a long-term contract, that’s not going to be the case at all. The free-agent market is paper thin.
Frankly, the likes of Cam Talbot, Alex Nedeljkovic, Anthony Stolarz, Scott Wedgewood, Laurent Brossoit, David Rittich, Antti Raanta and Calvin Pickard aren’t on the level the Maple Leafs need to shore up their depth. This is where a trade comes in and fully expect to see the uber-active Treliving immerse himself into trade talks this summer and there’s very little doubt goaltending depth will be near the top of his wish list.
As for potential candidates to target, the list of potentially available goaltenders is going to be few and far between and it’s all going to depend on how much the Leafs GM wants to part with. Juuse Saros in Nashville was previously seen as a likely target. Still, Predators GM Barry Trotz recently came out and confirmed the team is going to do whatever they can to sign the 29-year-old netminder, who has one season left on his contract at just $5 million.
Other potential trade targets include Logan Thompson or Adin Hill in Vegas, and Jacob Markstrom in Calgary, someone whom Treliving is very familiar with. There’s also Filip Gustavsson in Minnesota who appears to be available with Marc-Andre Fleury returning for another season and with the Wild having Jesper Wallstedt waiting in the wings. But again, Treliving can’t settle for a 1-B type of goalie, he needs to find elite talent who can move the needle and help push Woll for the starter’s crease. John Gibson and Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders seem like long shots at the moment, with Sorokin being someone to keep an eye on based on the fact Lou Lamoriello is a big fan of Mitch Marner and could see Marner as the perfect addition to help boost the Isles’ offence. This is certainly an interesting storyline to follow this summer.
Regardless of how the cards fall, at the end of the day, it’s become very obvious big changes are coming for the Leafs this offseason and it’s going to be much more than a new voice behind the bench. Treliving and company know they need to upgrade at numerous positions throughout their roster, including in net and expect to see Samsonov hit the free-agent market and the Maple Leafs make a trade to bring in a partner for Woll.

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