Thursday, July 05, 2007


Will the Leafs Utilize Toskala Correctly?

by Jes

The Maple Leafs made a big gamble on the mentally insecure Andrew Raycroft, and it totally, and unsurprisingly, blew up in their faces.

To rectify the situation, the Leafs went and dealt for long-time backup Vesa Toskala, and instantly upgraded a weakness on their club.

Now, the Leafs have a goalie used to playing a heavy load, and one goalie that wants to play a heavier load.

Raycroft ($2,000,000): 72GP 2.99GAA 89.4SV% (87.9SV% the season before that)
Toskala ($1,375,000): 38GP 2.35GAA 90.8SV% (90.1SV% the season before that)

The Leafs are talking about a "2-goalie system", but there is no reason that Toskala shouldn't be given the de-facto #1 job based on talent alone. Raycroft has been a poor goalie for 2 years, and giving him ~50% of the starts is just going to make it harder to the Leafs to win games.

A 2-goalie system only works when you have 2 average+ goaltenders, which the Leafs don't have. The Wild had Fernandez, Roloson, and Backstrom putting up good SV% year after year. The Wild could put any of their goalies in the net, and be assured of good goaltending. Most teams don't use a similar system because they don't have TWO average+ goaltenders.

While Toskala may be average at best, that is a serious upgrade from where the Leafs were before the trade, and it was good of the Leafs to do SOMETHING in this regard.

Now, if Vesa doesn't get at least 55 of the Leafs 82 starts, then the Leafs simply negate most of the benefits of the deal. Just because the Leafs invested so much in Raycroft already, doesn't mean they should justify the cost by playing the guy more than they should.

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Adding Clemmensen was a bit baffling though. I think the goalies will be confused with that move.
I know historically the greatest player to ever wear a Leafs jersey is the last player they signed, but Toskola isn't a world-beater just yet.

Comparing the situation in Minny to the situation in Toronto may be misleading. Vastly different defensive systems like that will not allow a 1-to-1 comparison of the effects of platooning goalies. What I'm trying to say is...Toronto's defense is a bigger problem than goaltending.

Ohh and the Clemmensen signing was likely due to a surplus of fashionable baseball caps in Toronto. Nobody wears a baseball cap on the bench like Clemmy. Nobody.
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