Toronto Maple Leafs recall Michael Hutchinson to replace struggling Garret Sparks

Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skate against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skate against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

In a surprising turn of events, the Toronto Maple Leafs recalled Michael Hutchinson from the AHL with Garret Sparks being asked to rediscover game.

Seeing the news that the Toronto Maple Leafs recalled Michael Hutchinson being recalled is an interesting development but considering the recent discussion around Garret Sparks, it should speak volumes.

It is curious considering the comments made by Sparks a couple of days ago following the Leafs loss to the Carolina Hurricanes where he allowed three goals on 36 shots. Here is the conversation he had with reporters after that game.

"“I’ll be ready next year. I’ll be ready if anything happens,” promised Sparks, whose desire and work ethic aren’t the issue here.“This year isn’t over for me. I’m still going to be a big part of this team going down the stretch, and I’ll push guys every day to be better and be a good teammate. That’s all you can do.“Support Fred.”"

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Well…unfortunately for the 26-year-old the Leafs are not going to take a chance on a player who has clearly struggled this season going 6-3-1 with a 2.91 GAA and a .907 sv& in 11 games before the All-Star Game to 2-6 posting a 3.45 GAA and a .896 sv% in nine games after the break.

According to TSN’s Kristen Shilton, Sparks wasn’t even among the goalies on the ice at practice and Sparks stall was taken out of the Leafs practice facility.

The other interesting note is that Hutchinson would need to go on waivers in order to be sent back down to the AHL. I doubt Kyle Dubas would want to be in another situation where he has to put a goalie on waivers but maybe he doesn’t expect a team to claim Hutchinson if they did want to go that route?

The 29-year-old went 2-3 with a 2.64 GAA and a .914 sv% in five games when both Sparks and Frederik Andersen were injured along with a 2.70 GAA and a .910 sv% in 23 games with the Toronto Marlies.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the team is planning to work with Sparks on the side and the indication is that he won’t be backup going forward.

Babcock also confirmed that the team is going to spend the next 10 days working with Sparks to get his technique back on track but you have to wonder how much time the organization is going to dedicate to him.

You know the head coach isn’t going to be patient considering he probably wanted to keep Curtis McElhinney and you have to wonder why the team is waiting until now to address this issue.

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