For those Toronto Maple Leafs fans who are also familiar with the plays of the great bard William Shakespeare, there’s a well-known soliloquy in Macbeth at the start of the 5th scene of Act 5 that includes the phrase describing a situation as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
For those who might not know the play Macbeth, the soliloquy happens when Macbeth’s castle is beset by Scottish troops led by Malcolm and Macduff. As the troops confront Macbeth’s castle to lay siege to it, Macbeth speaks confidently that he believes he can withstand any siege from the Scottish forces.
Although the tragedy (that’s a Shakespeare play where the main character dies) doesn’t turn out so well for Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, the current “siege” fueled by the chatter of hockey insiders is more likely to turn out much better for the Maple Leafs.
Here’s Where We Are with Alexandar Georgiev
The Maple Leafs goalie situation is well-known. Frederik Andersen is thought to be over-used and his current backup Michael Hutchinson isn’t seen to be adequate to both allow Andersen a rest and to regularly win games for the team. Some Maple Leaf fans believe a trade is urgently needed and, in that context, recently the New York Rangers have let it be known that Alexandar Georgiev, a Bulgarian goalie who’s third on the Rangers’ organizational depth chart, is available for trade.
Georgiev is a 23-year-old, formerly-undrafted Rangers goalie with 30 wins and a .914 save percentage in 65 career NHL games. What makes him so attractive to the Maple Leafs is that he stoned them twice in a relatively short period of time early in 2019. Specifically, Georgiev stopped 55 of 56 Maple Leaf shots on February 10, 2019, at Madison Square Garden and then stopped 44 of 45 shots on March 23, 2019, leading the Rangers to two 40+-save wins in two months.
Those games, and there’s logic to it, have reached the status of legend in many Maple Leafs’ fans’ memories. As a result, Georgiev has gained a sort of mythological status in short-term Maple Leafs’ lore. Georgiev is obviously one of the greatest goalies of all time.
As a result, and it started with the super-intelligent Elliotte Friedman (I’m not being cheeky here, I think Friedman is really smart – nerdy smart) commenting that the Maple Leafs had inquired about Georgiev and that he believed it would take “more than Jeremy Bracco” to get the Rangers to trade Georgiev.
Then Darren Dreger got into the act with the following tweet.
So, here’s where we are currently. Both Maple Leafs and Rangers fans have engaged in a fair share of interest about a possible trade scenario where forward Jeremy Bracco, who’s currently playing with the Toronto Marlies, gets moved for Georgiev, who’s the second Ranger backup goalie behind Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin. Then, by the way, Dreger amped up the volume by suggesting that Kasperi Kapanen wouldn’t even be enough to pry away Georgiev.
What’s Going to Happen?
At this point I’m calling this BS or, using a more literate reference, suggesting this chatter is “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” In other words, it’s not gonna happen. The Maple Leafs will not trade Kapapen for Georgiev.
As noted in other hockey posts, the chatter has reached meme status and, as it has, the goalie’s market value has incorrectly skyrocketed. But both the Maple Leafs and the Rangers know better. As good as Georgiev might be, he isn’t that good.
It isn’t necessarily that the two teams aren’t talking; that’s the general manager’s job. You have to answer the phone. The Maple Leafs need a backup – OK, I agree. But, another job of a general manager is not to get “jobbed” by another general manager. That doesn’t work for either side more than once. Kyle Dubas won’t make a horrible trade nor would Jeff Gorton of the Rangers. If you hope to continue to engage in the business of hockey, you don’t screw each other over.
Although he might be good, Georgiev isn’t as great as the chatter. In addition, the Rangers aren’t trading from a perspective of strength. They’re stacked up in their organization with good goalies and are interested in moving him. They can’t play that hard to get.
The Rangers currently carry three goalies on the team’s active roster, and that creates problems icing a competitive team. Henrik Lundqvist has another season on his contract and Igor Shestrykin is the organization’s top prospect. That leaves Georgiev outside looking through the window. It can be a problem having three strong goalies, as the Rangers have found out.
That simply means the Maple Leafs won’t trade someone on its roster for Georgiev, especially Kapanen. Kapanen might be third-liner with the Maple Leafs but he’d be on the top six on more than half of NHL teams right now.
What are the Choices?
It doesn’t make sense for the Maple Leafs to trade an everyday player who’ll easily score 20 goals each season for a backup goalie who might play – at tops – 20 game a season. I simply don’t see that happening.
Thus, Maple Leafs fans one of two choices in the wake of all the chatter – fueled by the “hockey insiders.” So, take your choice. It’s either “It’s not gonna happen.” Or it’s “Full of sound and fury and signifies nothing.”