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A Solution for the Maple Leafs Goaltending Issues

This past week, Bob Mackenzie indicated on TSN Radio that the Maple Leafs would not be interested in goaltender Roberto Luongo.  This seems to be a sentiment echoed throughout the media and I happen to agree with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Luongo is a great goalie and will be good for the next five years at least, I just don’t think the Maple Leafs are interested in someone of his age with that type of contract.

About a month ago I posted an article suggesting that the Maple Leafs target two goalies in free agency: Josh Harding and Scott Clemmensen.

I still hold the same opinion as I did then; the Maple Leafs need to give James Reimer a chance to be the starting goalie they think he is, but if he falters they need a proven veteran backup that can carry the load.  Harding and Clemmensen both fit the bill and they should be had with short term, low cost contracts.  The Leafs must also consider how well Ben Scrivens has developed at the AHL level.  And although they will not go into the season with only Reimer and Scrivens as the only two goalies on the roster, he just might be the starting goalie at some point next year.

Paul posted an article from Steve Simmons on the site today talking about Tomas Vokoun.  Simmons writes that the Maple Leafs were contacted by Vokoun’s agent prior to last season and at that time he was told that they weren’t interested.  Simmons suggests that the Leafs will be interested in him this summer and he could be the answer to their problems in goal.  We know that Vokoun will not be signing with the KHL, as his goal is to be a starter in the NHL.  I’m just not sure if the Leafs can rely on the soon to be 36 year old.  Vokoun posted good numbers with the Caps last season, but only managed to play in 48 games and was absent from the playoffs with what was described as a severe groin tear.  That type of injury does not bode well for an aging net minder.

If the Maple Leafs are going to target someone to be the starter next year ahead of Reimer, I think they need to get a little more creative as the answer is not available in unrestricted free agency.  The trade route is the only way to go and if Luongo is out of the picture that does not leave many more options available.  There has been talk of Tim Thomas, and although I think he would be a good option, I don’t think Boston is in a hurry to get rid of their Conn Smythe winning goalie just yet.

If the Leafs are going to dive into the trade market for a goalie I think they should target Jaroslav Halak.  Halak has spent two seasons with the St. Louis Blues after being acquired in a trade from Montreal for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.  This past season, Halak shared goaltending duties with Brian Elliott.  Elliott enjoyed a breakout season with the Blues and was rewarded with a two year contract extension.  With prospect Jake Allen developing nicely in the AHL, I wonder whether the Blues would be willing to part with Halak and his $3.75M cap hit to try and add to their club.  They have three key RFA’s to sign this summer: TJ Oshie, David Perron and Chris Stewart and some key UFA’s: Barret Jackman, Jason Arnott and Jaime Langenbrunner, among others.  They might be inclined to use that money to help sign some of these players.  I am unsure whether St. Louis would be willing to deal Halak, but if I was Burke I would absolutely be kicking the tires on him.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, halak, luongo, vokoun

Comments

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I am not saying Luongo is the goalie the Leafs should target but a playoff berth in 2012-2013 is an expectation that cannot be missed for the Leafs and to go into next season with Clemmenson or Harding as a starter is ridiculous.  They might be good.  They might not be.  Why take the chance.  Why risk the goalies not panning out and missing the playoffs again simply because you cheaped out and went for perennial backups (I know Harding is young but Clemmenson?  Really?).  Say what you want about Luongo but you know what you will get.  He is a 920 sv % goalie that would have been the difference with the Leafs this year in getting them to the playoffs.  He is durable and a workhorse.  Will he be able to win the cup.  How about getting to the playoffs first.  Its not like the Leafs can’t afford the contract.

Q

Posted by Mayor Quimby from Langley BC on 05/28/12 at 11:57 AM ET

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I don’t disagree with you.  I like Luongo and I think he would be a good fit for the Leafs, but everything I hear and read about tells me that the Leafs are not interested in him.  So if that’s the case where else can they look?

When I said the Leafs should target Harding or Clemmensen, it was based on Reimer bouncing back and being the starter.  The organization obviously has some faith in him since they signed him to a three year contract.  So if that is the case they need to bring in a veteran backup that can also carry the starter duties for a short period of time if Reimer stumbles.  Clemmensen has done that as recently as this past season and Harding is still young enough that he has some upside, similar to Mike Smith.

Posted by @TheDailyBites from Hamilton, Ontario on 05/28/12 at 12:30 PM ET

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