Ramblings: Toronto Goaltending, Buy-Low Players, Verhaeghe, Montour and more … (Nov. 07)

Dobber

2022-11-07

The Leafs are in goaltending trouble, as we had expected would happen this season. Matt Murray is sidelined, though is set to return likely this week. And now Ilya Samsonov is out. Being tight against the cap, Toronto has no Plan B. Erik Kallgren has been putting up backup-type numbers, but he's really not more than a No.3. However, Toronto being such a strong team, he is going to get his share of wins. And all this team cares about is how the goaltending looks in April.

Plan C is Keith Petruzzelli, a Detroit draft pick who had yet to sign an NHL contract despite being drafted high (third round in 2017) and posting decent numbers at the college level. He has had a strong season in six games with the Marlies and is still only 23. In keeper leagues, if push comes to shove, I probably prefer Petruzzelli's longer-term outlook than Kallgren's. This contract was made possible because Washington was kind enough to claim Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers. What that means is that the Leafs dropped from the maximum 50 contracts, down to 49 contracts – allowing them to sign Petruzzelli instead of an Emergency Backup.

That being said, Kallgren posted a strong outing Sunday, stopping 29 of 30. I think it's possible that Murray starts Tuesday against Vegas, and if he doesn't then I assume Kallgren will go again. But I doubt this is the last time Murray gets hurt. And next time it happens, I'm very curious to see Petruzzelli get a look. Petruzzelli backed up Kallgren Sunday.

The Leafs are waking up, at least in terms of offense, so the regular season goaltending can be on the weaker side and still get the W's. Mitch Marner is on a six-game point streak, while William Nylander has picked a point in all but two of the games so far this season. Auston Matthews has 11 points in his last nine games.

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Stefan Noesen is a former top prospect who was drafted 21st overall in 2011. He has finally figured out the pro game to the point of dominating. But it's too late? He's 29 now, which is usually too late to forge a regular-duty NHL career. Last season he had 85 points in 70 AHL games, including 48 goals (and 112 PIM). His NHL ice time i