If there is one area that the Leafs have struggled to draft and develop for years, it’s been the goaltending position. Looking back at the team’s draft history dating back to 2004, the team hasn’t invested a lot in the position and have made countless mistakes along the way.
The infamous decision to trade Tuukka Rask, arguable the best goaltender the Leafs have ever drafted, will never be forgotten but when you look at named like Justin Pogge, Grant Rollheiser (yeah don’t ask), Garret Sparks, Antoine Bibeau the team has struggled to find a solution. You could say that after Rask, James Reimer is the only other one to find success.
Now, the team has three goalies that try to turn the fortunes of the team around in that area. Joseph Woll, Ian Scott and Zachary Bouthillier were selected in three straight years but only one appears to be making the climb up the ranks.
Woll made his professional debut this season and let’s just say the Leafs aren’t going to force the issue any time soon. The third-round pick has had his ups and downs with the Marlies who have understandably been gutted of a lot of their top-end players in recent years.
In 32 games this season, Will has an 11-16-3 record with a 3.75 GAA and a .880 sv%. At this point, the numbers should be the last thing to worry about especially when it comes to a young goalie making the transition from college hockey to the AHL.
Just to provide a different perspective, Carter Hart had a .902 sv% and 3.05 GAA in 18 games in the AHL before he got promoted to the NHL. At this point, there is no definitive answer as to whether Woll can be an NHL calibre goalie but hopefully, with time and patience, he can be afforded the chance to show it.