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David Rittich a Great Pickup for the Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs picking up goaltender David Rittich was a great move, here’s why.

It has been a busy past couple days for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, who is doing everything in his power to allow his team to contend for a Stanley Cup this year. The trade that has gotten the most buzz was acquiring Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Given how good Foligno has been throughout his 950-game career, the excitement is certainly warranted. However, they may have gotten an even better pickup in goaltender David Rittich.

Related: Maple Leafs Acquire David Rittich from Calgary Flames in Trade

Small Price to Pay

Last night, it was announced that the Leafs had acquired Rittich from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick. That in itself was a very cheap price to pay, and made even better with the fact that the Flames agreed to retain half of his salary. This is a huge move for Dubas who perhaps more than anything else at this deadline needed to add depth in the crease given their current question marks in that position.

In the last few weeks, Jack Campbell has gone on a ridiculous run for the Leafs, and at 11-0 on the year has set a record for the best start to a season by a goalie in franchise history. While his play has been incredible however, there are still some concerns around Campbell which made trading for another goalie a necessity.

Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs

One is his lack of experience, given that he has played in just 75 career NHL games, and zero in the postseason. The other is that since returning from a lower-body injury earlier this season, he hasn’t always looked fully recovered, often caught by cameras laboring to get up after a big stretched out save.

Normally, they would still have Frederik Andersen to count on as well, but the veteran goalie is currently on the long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury with no apparent return in sight. Even when he has been healthy this season he has struggled, posting just a 2.91 goals against average (GAA) and a .897 save percentage (SV%).

Still, while the Leafs would have been wise to bring in a goaltender even with a healthy Andersen, they simply had to without him, given the fact their current tandem is Campbell and Michael Hutchinson. No disrespect to Hutchinson, who has played quite well in limited action this season, but he is not a capable backup goaltender on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Instead, they now have Rittich in that spot, who has certainly proven in the past he can be up to the task.

Related: NHL Trade Talk Podcast: Episode 1: Deadline Deals Coming Together

Competent Goalie

The 28-year-old Rittich has played all 130 games in his career with the Calgary Flames. His play was often critiqued for being inconsistent, but there is no denying that when he is at his best he can be a starter at the NHL level. He proved this during the 2019-20 season where he was truly given his first ever shot as the team’s starter and was able to play in his first ever All-Star Game that year. Unfortunately, his play went downhill quickly afterward, and he was relegated to the backup position by the time the playoffs started.

David Rittich Calgary Flames
David Rittich, the newest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, via sportsnet

A quick glance at Rittich’s stats this season would suggest he hasn’t been very good, as he has posted a 2.90 GAA along with a .904 SV% in 15 games played. However, that has as much if not more to do with the team he has been playing behind, as Jacob Markstrom, who is regarded as one of the better goalies in the entire NHL, has struggled with the Flames as well this season, posting a 2.91 GAA along with a .901 SV%.

Tremendous Add

Going forward for the Leafs, the net should and will belong to Campbell as long as he continues to play like he has. However, if his play is to falter or he is to get bit by the injury bug again, fans should be much more comfortable now knowing they have Rittich at the ready. The fact that the price to pay was just a third-rounder makes this an outstanding pickup by Dubas.

Next: Will the Blue Jackets Listen on Patrik Laine Trade Offers?

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