Maple Leafs cannot continue with Michael Hutchinson as backup goalie

Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a pad save against the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell. (Photo by Stephane Dube /Getty Images)
Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a pad save against the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell. (Photo by Stephane Dube /Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to struggle to win the second half of back-to-back games and part of the reason is Michael Hutchinson’s struggles.

Going into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Toronto Maple Leafs were already shorthanded with Mitch Marner nursing an ankle but it was Michael Hutchinson‘s play that proved to be the biggest issue.

Marner would have been a big help with the team down 4-1 after the first period but let’s be honest here, the team’s offence wasn’t the issue. The Leafs had 57 shots on Robin Lehner who made 53 saves while Hutchinson made 29 saves on 34 shots so it was clear in a game that ended 5-4 that goaltending was a factor.

The first period was a disaster after the Blackhawks score two goals in 10 seconds to go up 3-0, again goaltending played a part in that along with some spotty defensive zone coverage which captain John Tavares took ownership of.

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Tavares is right, the team shouldn’t have backed up and let Patrick Kane roam around the offensive zone untouched and that was a problem in the first period. However, Toronto did cut the lead to 4-3 and they needed Hutchinson to keep them within a goal but Brandon Saad‘s goal with less than five minutes left was too hard to overcome.

It would be one thing if Hutchinson had one or two outings to suggest he’s close to figuring things out or a track record of success in the NHL to reference but that isn’t the case here.

Hutchinson is 0-4-1 with a 4.44 GAA and a .879 save percentage which isn’t good enough by any standard whether it be the NHL, AHL or even junior hockey.

So, where do the Leafs go from here? They have another back-to-back upcoming against the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins which isn’t exactly an easy one and you have to think that Mike Babcock won’t let this continue.

The only option the team has in the system is Kasimir Kaskisuo who has a 2.13 GAA and a .929 save percentage in eight games with the Toronto Marlies this season. At this point,  Leafs couldn’t do any worse than Kaskisuo who could see this as a great opportunity.

You have to think that the Leafs will want to make a decision soon and maybe as early as Friday or Saturday.

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Do you think the Leafs should go with a different backup goalie going forward? Was this Hutchinson’s last game with the Leafs? Let us know in the comments below.