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Toronto Maple Leafs

Plain & Simple: Maple Leafs Should Make Woll Starting Goalie

Why are the Toronto Maple Leafs even thinking about a goalie other than Joseph Woll as their starter? Why go after Jacob Markstrom?

Rumors are swirling that the Toronto Maple Leafs might be interested in acquiring veteran goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested that Toronto could be eyeing Markstrom, partly due to his history with Leafs GM Brad Treliving, who signed him in Calgary. While the idea of a Markstrom-Woll tandem might seem enticing, there are convincing reasons why the Maple Leafs should not consider this move.

Related: Insider Connects Sens And Leafs To Flames’ Jacob Markstrom

Why Markstrom Is a Liability for Maple Leafs Player Development

Markstrom poses a significant liability for the Maple Leafs due to his $6 million cap hit, which would strain their limited $18.8 million cap space and force difficult roster decisions amidst pending free agent signings – Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi immediately jump to my mind. Additionally, Markstrom’s recent performance has been less than consistent, with last season’s stats (23-23-2 record, 2.78 GAA, and .905 Sv.%) marking a decline from his peak, suggesting a risky investment compared to Ilya Samsonov’s criticized yet similar performance.

Joseph Woll and Jacob Markstrom duo for Maple Leafs?

Furthermore, Markstrom’s age—34—and nearing the end of his career make him a less viable long-term solution than the promising and cost-effective Woll, whose development better aligns with the team’s future goals. And that’s the biggest issue. Woll is ready and should be trusted to carry the mail for the team.

Don’t the Maple Leafs Believe in Woll as a Starter?

Make no mistake: Markstrom is a class act and a good goalie. But what are the Maple Leafs thinking? Woll has been excellent in goal—he puts up great numbers, moves well in the crease, and plays confidently. He’s young and developed through the Maple Leafs system. Why would the team look elsewhere when Woll is such a strong candidate for the starting position?

There’s only one issue. Are there concerns about his injury history and the fact he hasn’t played a full season yet? However, the best solution is to start Woll and re-sign either Matt Murray or Martin Jones as a backup. They would likely come cheaply enough. Investing in Woll as the starter would benefit the team’s developmental system. He’s inexpensive and really good, making him the logical choice.

Building around Woll means having a reliable veteran goalie like Jones or Murray as a viable backup option on a show-me deal. These options make more sense than bringing in Markstrom or any other expensive goaltender. It makes no logical sense to do anything other than make Woll the starting goalie.

Related: NHL Free Agency Interest: Maple Leafs and Goalie Laurent Brossoit

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