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Should Jack Campbell Take Over as Starter in Toronto?

Jack Campbell came in after missing eight games with an injury and threw a shutout against the Calgary Flames. Is he the answer in Toronto?

Jack Campbell started in goal tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs played the second game of their back-to-back series against the Calgary Flames. He and his team shut out the Flames by a score of 2-0.

The Maple Leafs had lost 4-3 on Friday night in a frustrating game when starter Frederik Andersen gave up the first goal on the first shot of the game and then proceeded to allow three additional goals in the first period. The team came back to tie the game at 3-3 and then lost the game on a bad bounce. It was a frustrating game.

On Friday night, the 31-year-old Andersen had a difficult night. He gave up three goals in the first period alone and has now lost three straight games and five of his last six. On Thursday, Andersen admitted he was not yet completely healed from a lower-body issue, and his play suggests as much. He hasn’t played up to his standards when he was healthy.

It’s also been a difficult season for Andersen. After Friday’s game, his 2020-21 record dropped to 13-8-2 record with a goals-against-average of 2.91 and an under .900 save percentage (.897). These are the worst statistics of Andersen’s career.

Related: Will Galchenyuk Start on Maple Leafs’ 2nd Line with Tavares & Nylander?

On the Other Hand, Campbell Is Still Perfect

Campbell’s 31-save, 2-0 shutout gave him a perfect night, which also matches his perfect season. He’s been perfect, but this is only his fourth game on the season. He’s won every game he’s played, and he has a perfect 4-0-0 record.

Toronto Maple Leafs NHL
Jack Campbell Congratulated by the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL

However, let’s hope tonight differs from the season’s norm. It seems that, after every game he’s played this season, he ends up injured. I’m anxious to see whether he survived the game without an injury. He hadn’t played since February 27, when he also tossed a 4-0 shutout against the Edmonton Oilers, who are now tied with the Maple Leafs for top spot in the North Division.

Is There a Goalie Dilemma in Toronto? Should There Be?

Campbell had missed eight games with a lower-body injury; however, on each side of the injury he had a shoutout. The question is if Campbell’s play warrants consideration of his taking over the starting role for a while. He might do that by default, if Andersen remains injured. Still, Campbell has been the better goalie all season long.

Andersen clearly has not been his quietly competent self. He’s been little better than average, even when he’s been healthy. On the other hand, when Campbell’s healthy, he’s been sharp. He stops the puck, doesn’t give up too many rebounds, and his teammates seem to like playing in front of him.

Related: Three Reasons Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas Is Happy with Team Defense

Campbell’s Been Strong Since He Came to Toronto

Campbell’s been strong since showing up in Toronto from Los Angeles. His Maple Leafs’ record is 7-2-1 record with a .934 save percentage since he’s come to the organization. Right now, after tonight’s game, Campbell has posted 133:27 of consecutive shutout minutes and has stopped 71 straight shots. Aside from Andersen, Campbell is the first goalie to have consecutive shutouts since Ben Scrivens posted them in February of 2013.

If Campbell can stay healthy, can he fill the space left by Andersen’s injury? He’s only given up four goals in the season, which is the same number of goals Andersen gave up last night. Right now, it looks as if the 29-year-old Campbell could carry his team. The question now is whether he should be given that chance.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. macreeves

    March 21, 2021 at 7:48 am

    Campbell should get most of the next 10 games need to see how he bounces back after a bad game

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