Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Timur Bilyalov should be a priority to sign

The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly shown interest in KHL goalie Timur Bilyalov and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a priority to sign.

If there is a position that has been neglected by the Toronto Maple Leafs for the past couple of seasons, it has been the goaltending position more particularly the backup job.

So when Luke Fox of Sportsnet reported that the Leafs were among multiple teams interested in KHL goaltender Timur Bilyalov, it raised some eyebrows. The 24-year-old’s numbers in the KHL are hard to look past but then look at the fact that he is five-foot-10 and 174 pounds and it makes you wonder if this is another situation where a player was looked over because of his size.

In 16 games this season, the Russian has six shutouts, a 1.10 GAA and a .957 sv% which is not something you can look past. This isn’t just a one-season thing either considering Bilyalov hasn’t had a season where his save percentage has been below .920 and his GAA was over 2.50.

The obvious problem is that Biyalov wouldn’t be an immediate solution to a problem the Leafs have right now but that shouldn’t stop the Leafs from making sure that they have more formidable options going into next season.

Frederik Andersen has one more year left on his deal and you would hope that the Leafs would try to get him signed for a couple of more years or at least until the younger prospects are ready to make the jump.

Joseph Woll has been splitting the goaltending duties in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies posting a 3.08 GAA and a .899 sv%. There shouldn’t be any concern about those numbers considering this is Woll’s first season in professional hockey and the Marlies aren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut.

Ian Scott has not played this season as he has been nursing an injury that has kept him out since training camp. Safe to say that it wouldn’t be wise to expect either Woll or Scott to be ready for any NHL action in the not too distant future and should be given every opportunity to develop at their pace.

This is why a player like Biyalov would be an ideal target for the Leafs because he wouldn’t command a hefty salary and would be given a strong chance to play right away. Who knows he could potentially provide the Leafs what the New York Rangers have in Alexander Georgiev who has been linked as a potential trade option for Toronto.

Next: Leafs going in right direction but still have work to do

Do you think it would be worth it to sign Bilyalov to a contract? Let us know in the comments below. 

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