Monday, December 13, 2010

What to do with the Leafs goaltending situation?

Hey Leafs Nation its been a bit of time since I have been able to sit down for an extended period of time and blog about my favourite club the Toronto Maple Leafs, I hope to be able to do this a little more frequently as the hectic pace of the past few months slows down for the Holiday season. I have spent a bit of time thinking lately as Im sure many fans have of the Buds goaltending situation.

We have the "Monster" Jonas Gustavsson playing as well as he can in front of a team who cant seem to find the back of the net on a regular basis and have clear periods of bone-headedness in their own end on too many nights but he still sits with a .902 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.91 respectable numbers for a player entering his second season in the NHL and who is signed through next season.

We next have Jean Sebastian Giguere, a Stanley Cup winner with the Anaheim Ducks, a vocal player with a great work ethic, Giguere is in the last year of his contract before hitting free agency and posts a 2.78 goals against and a surprising 7-6-2 record with the third worst club in the NHL at the moment, it is worth to note that Giguere has helped mentor Gustavsson unlike last years starter who will remain nameless.

Then you have Jussi Rynnas who has stolen a number of victories for the Marlies this season down in the AHL, has posted 2.49 goals against average and a .921 save percentage while posting a losing record of 6-8-2. Rynnas won the AHL player of the week earlier this season, Im not sure if the kid is NHL ready but he is knocking on the door and it is only a matter of time before the Leafs let the kid see what he can do in the bigs.

The club also has James Reimer in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, Ben Scrivens in the ECHL with the Reading Royals and Grant Rollheiser playing for Boston University in the NCAA, there is nothing wrong with too many goalies in the system and Brian Burke would be wise to hang on and not give up on any of the youngsters (ala Tukka Rask), Im still haunted by this special trade for another goalie who will remain nameless.

The big question to ask is what should the club do this season with their current goaltending situation? What do I think well Im glad you asked, first of all I recall Ron Wilson saying at the start of the season that he was looking at giving Giguere about 50 starts to Gustavsson's 30, its time Mr. Wilson have a change of plans as it is Gustavsson who should be starting 50 games with Giguere taking a back seat. Lets see what this kid can do with a regular work load, he has outplayed Giguere so far this season.

Then once you have Giguere in the back up role it would only be a matter of time before he decides that he would like #1 goalie minutes, welcome to the NHL trade deadline, teams like Philadelphia, Washington and San Jose could all use an experienced netminder, so as long as Giguere is willing to waive his NTC the club may be able to get something in return for a player that most likely will not be resigned and a $6 million cap hit would be made available to the club.

Then the club can call up Jussi Rynnas and let the young Finn get his feet wet in the NHL, lets see if the kid is ready for the back up role behind Gustavsson for the 2011-12 season, Gustavsson should still carry the bulk of the load in between the pipes for the club the rest of this season but Rynnas will earn some valuable time with the club.

I dont know about anyone else but a Gustavsson and Rynnas tandem has me pondering another time the club had two young but solid netminders in Felix Potvin and Damien Rhodes, those were some good years to be a Leafs fan, boy those were some good years.

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