Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Who would be Leafs backup goaltender?
The Leafs go into another off season full of questions but one of the most important questions is will Vesa Toskala return to the form of two seasons ago. Toskala will be given the number one goaltender spot next season and as long as the groin is healed their is no reason to not thing that he will return to form, but one thing that could help him get there faster is a competitive back up keeper breathing down his neck for his job. The Leafs are looking at "The Monster" the 24 year old Swedish keeper Jonas Gustavsson, this move has been put on hold with the passing of the goalkeepers mother over the weekend. When and if he is ready to play in the NHL the Leafs will have a fight on their hands for his services especially with Colorado in the hunt and Gustavsson's idol possibly behind the bench in Patrick Roy. This could leave the Leafs out in the cold. What options are out there to back up Toskala and who might be the best fit to push him is anyone's guess but I'll try and you can always let me know what you think would best fit this team.
Martin Gerber- He played well in his short stay in Toronto after being picked up on waivers going 6-5-0 and 10-14-1 overall for the season but to stay in Toronto will need to take a big paycut.
Manny Fernandez- He finished the season with 16-8-3 record on a strong Boston team, another goaltender who will need to take a big paycut if he wants to remain in the league.
Stephan Valiquette- This Toronto native always plays well against the Leafs and with a 5-5-2 record would welcome a little more of a workload.
Mathieu Garon- With an 8-9-1 overall record last season with the Oilers and Penguins, Garon is one year younger the Toskala and will be hungry to show that his #1 status the last few years was no joke.
The Leafs can also go with Ty Conklin, Scott Clemenson, Wade Dubielewicz or Antero Niittymaki but the four goalies mentioned above i feel would push Toskala to the point where he will need to stand on his head in the goal this season, the results would be a few victories stolen by the Leafs netminder something we couldn't say last season.