Toronto Maple Leafs 2017-18 Preview: Looking at the goaltending

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 19: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 19: Frederik Andersen /

Inching closer and closer to puck drop, it is time for another season for the Toronto Maple Leafs as we preview the team’s goaltending.

If there is one area that has not been talked about enough during training camp and preseason, it is the Leafs goaltending and for good reason. While things got off to a rocky start between the pipes to start the season, it would get back on track as the Leafs made it back into the playoffs.

Going into this season, the Leafs brought back Curtis McElhinney and Garret Sparks while letting Antoine Bibeau go. What will be important is ensuring Frederik Andersen is not overworked like he was last season after playing 66 games which was the second most among starting goalies.

The team will play less games on back-to-back nights but it does not mean Andersen should be asked to play as much even though he came into camp in better shape. Another 60 games should not be tough for Andersen and given that he missed time in training because of an injury last season, he should get off to a better start.

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The 27-year-old had a 33-16-14 record to go with a 2.67 GAA and a .918 sv% while his backup sported a 6-7-0 record, 2.85 GAA and a .914 sv%. Hopefully an improved defence will mean a better season from the goalies but the important thing will be consistency.

While the team gave McElhinney a two-year deal it does not mean that he will be on the team for both years. If the team has issues with their backup goalie situation, help is not too far away as many teams will need to put a goalie on waivers like Columbus did with McElhinney.

One option is Malcolm Subban who was out on waivers by the Boston Bruins but the chances of him being available to the Leafs is unlikely given the number of team’s that might see him as a better option and a higher waiver priority. At the same time, the Leafs are not in a position to go after a starting backup goalie at the moment but it is something to consider.

Next: 2017-18 Preview: Looking at the forwards

While the backup is an important job, Andersen will be the player that makes or breaks the Leafs season. His size, and athleticism is something the Leafs banked on when they brought him in and gave a five-year deal to and he has not disappointed so far, now it is time to see what he has in store in his second season in the blue and white.