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Maple Leafs Goaltending Better, But in Critical Condition

The Maple Leafs goaltending should be better this season, but the netminding situation could also be described as critical.

Steve Dangle was kind when he said “better”, but when asked how he would describe the Toronto Maple Leafs current goaltending situation, Luke Fox of Sportsnet described the situation as “critical.” During an interview with SN’s Shawn McKenzie, he explained why.

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During the offseason, Andersen’s contract situation in Toronto was a popular news story. There were talks he might be moved and so much so, he publicly said he was preparing for a change of scenery. In the end, Toronto made other changes and Andersen stayed put. But, the drama surrounding his situation appears to be far from over.

Fox explained that Andersen will likely stay on the front page of NHL storylines. He notes it’s all because, “Freddie Anderson is going into a contract year, because he’s heard his name dangled out there in trade rumors, and Kyle Dubas did poke around.” He added, “I think because of the compacted schedule, and the fact that they haven’t gotten over the hump and won a playoff round, he’s going to be a major storyline this year.”

Fox questioned how much of a workload Andersen will be given and how many starts backup Jack Campbell get as he pushes for a starting role and tries to prove he’s a No. 1 netminder. “Do they start showing their plan and prepare for life after Freddie?,” Fox asked. Knowing that he has no security beyond this year, how Andersen deals with all of this mentally could pose a huge challenge for the somewhat inconsistent backstop.

Could the Goaltending Be Critical and Better?

Dangle argued that the sheer presence of Campbell makes the goaltending situation in Toronto better than last season, even if everything Fox noted about Andersen was accurate. Stating there was no chance the Leafs could even have a conversation about how many starts to give the backup when it was Michael Hutchinson playing that role, a motivated Andersen and a capable Campbell is a huge positive.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender

But, that doesn’t mean the problems are all solved. This will be a trying season for everyone and the Leafs are tight against the cap with not much wiggle room on Andersen’s salary (should the Leafs want to re-sign him). And, if Campbell doesn’t step up, to say GM Kyle Dubas has a problem on his hands would be an understatement.

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