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Can the Maple Leafs Find Campbell Help in Seattle with Vanecek?

One of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ priorities over the offseason is to find help for Jack Campbell in goal. Might Vitek Vanecek be an answer?

Recently, Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas joined TSN Overdrive to discuss a variety of topics. One of them was the team’s goalie situation.

The question he was asked about his goalie Jack Campbell was: “Jack Campbell hasn’t started more than 31 games in the NHL before, and that was a few years ago in LA. Is it reasonable to expect he can play 50+? Where does getting another goaltender rank on your list of priorities?”

Dubas answered that finding another goalie was a huge priority. He noted that the team had a lot of belief in Campbell, and that the first-time starting goalie would have surpassed 31 games played if the team had played a full season. Fans will also recall that Campbell was injured during the season, as well. So, he would’t have bumped up into the 50-game range.

Related: After the Kraken Draft: What’s the Maple Leafs 2021-22 Season Roster?

Goaltending Is a Priority for the Maple Leafs

Dubas noted that, the other parts of the roster aside, “if we don’t properly supplement our goaltending and provide a partner for Jack who can challenge him and support each other, I think we will be putting ourselves in a tougher position.”

Frederik Andersen Jack Campbell Maple Leafs
Frederik Andersen Jack Campbell, Last Season’s Maple Leafs Goalies

In fact, he added that for the Maple Leafs finding another goalie was “the key as we head into next week. If next week there isn’t a market there, then we will look into trades throughout the summer and heading into the season.”

There’s Depth in the Minors, But It’s Not Yet Ready for Prime Time

Dubas noted that the organization has built up some depth in its minor-league system. He named four players who were already signed there: (a) Michael Hutchinson, (b) Erik Kallgren, (c) Joe Woll, and (d) Ian Scott. However, he didn’t mention Veini Vehviläinen (who came from the Columbus Blue Jackets and currently is an RFA) or Artur Akhtyamov (who was drafted during the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and played in the KHL last season).

Dubas noted that one of the team’s focuses will be on finding a good partner for Campbell right now because they know the depth is taken care of in the organization. Dubas was also hopeful that Campbell would continue to develop, evolve, and play the same way he played during the season and into the playoffs. If he can, Dubas believed the Maple Leafs had found their long-term solution. 

Regardless, the team needs a solid partner for him who can challenge for that same spot in the goaltending depth chart. But who?

Related: In the Maple Leafs Search for Goalies: Where’s David Rittich?

Could Vitek Vanecek Be That Goalie?

The Seattle Kraken chose Vitek Vanecek from the Washington Capitals during the expansion draft. Vanecek has a modest salary-cap hit of $716,667 for one more year; and, although that doesn’t sound as much like a partner as an understudy, the 25-year-old Vanecek played 37 NHL games last season, with a 21-10-0 record, a save percentage of .908 and a goals-against-average of 2.69. He could be very good.

Might he be on Dubas’ radar? Interestingly, new Maple Leafs’ assistant coach ​​Spencer Carbery was Vanecek’s head coach with the Hershey Bears for a couple of seasons. 

It’s hard to say what will happen here or what Dubas has up his sleeve. However, are Vanecek’s ties with Carbery simply coincidences? We know that Dubas and company like to go with players they’ve had relationships with. How strong are Vanecek’s connections with Carbery?

Maple Leafs’ fans will see what’s up in the next few weeks. Could Vanecek be an option?

7 Comments

7 Comments

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  7. Boss Sause

    July 27, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Love this idea Old prof. This would be great against the cap. Who knows? Maybe the Kraken will end up with Kerfoot after all If that’s what it would take to get this goalie. it’s the best goaltending scenario that I’ve heard as yet.

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