Watching to see what happens with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie situation is a daily event. What’s the status of Frederick Anderson’s injury? Is Jack Campbell healthy enough to play tonight? Where’s Michael Hutchison today? Veini Vehvilainen? Ian Scott? Who’s on the taxi squad or in the active line up? What about Joseph Woll?
I tease a bit, but the issue is that no one outside the team knows who’s injured and who’s not injured with the Maple Leafs’ goalies. For as many goalie injuries as the organization has had this season, the team is doing remarkably well on the ice. Maple Leafs’ fans have to hope it stays that way.
In this edition of Maple Leafs News & Roster Moves, I’ll try to help Maple Leafs’ fans stay as up-to-date as possible as the team heads into tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Item One: Jack Campbell is Healthy Enough for Another Start
In today’s Maple Leafs’ morning skate, Jack Campbell was the starter. That likely means that he’s going to play tonight against the Canadiens. In his last game on Monday, Campbell tended the team to a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Monday wasn’t his best game of the season, and Campbell’s save percentage was under .900 for the first time since I recall. Still, he stopped 26 of 29 shots for the win. His record moved to 9-0-0 record on the season, with a goals-against-average of a 1.53 and a save percentage of .944.
With that win against the Flames, Campbell’s win streak now equals a Maple Leafs’ franchise record previously shared by Felix Potvin (1993-94), Jacques Plante (1970-71), and goalie John Ross Roach (1924-25). It would be great in several ways (for Campbell and for his team) to see his streak to hit 10 games.
Item Two: Frederik Andersen Not at Practice: No Update on His Injury
Frederik Andersen, who’s suffering from a lower-body injury, was not on the ice before practice on Wednesday. His lingering injury has kept him out of the lineup since March 19. At that time in March, I don’t believe anyone in the organization knew the extent of Andersen’s injury because the first notification (made on March 24) was that he’d be out only for about a week to 10 days.
But those 10 days have come and gone, and still no sight of Andersen. Fortunately for the team, backup goalie Campbell has been stellar in net. Hence, there’s no need to rush Andersen back into game action – not with Campbell and third-stringer Michael Hutchinson now sporting a 7-0-1 run that’s put the Maple Leafs firmly back in control of the North Division’s race.
In fact, head coach Sheldon Keefe announced after the practice that “He (Andersen) had another follow up but I haven’t gotten the update yet.”
When Keefe was asked after Wednesday’s practice if he were concerned about Andersen missing the rest of the season, his answer was “no concern.”
As noted, Andersen’s last game action was on March 18 when he played against the Calgary Flames. It’s the ninth game in a row that he’s missed. Andersen record for the 2020-21 season is 13-8-2 with a goals-against-average of 2.91 and a save percentage of .897. When Andersen does return – if he’s able to, given’s Campbell’s success in net there’s liable to be a bit of a goal-tending controversy in the Blue and White nation about who should be in goal. That would be – let’s say – a “healthy” problem for the team.
Item Three: Three Other Goalie Moves: Hutchinson, Vehvilainen & Scott
In the first goalie roster move, Michael Hutchinson was moved to the taxi squad yesterday. That’s not unexpected as a way to shave off a bit of salary-cap space on the team’s day off. Given that Andersen is clearly unable to back up Campbell tonight, Hutchinson will likely be moved back to the active roster just prior to game time.
In the second roster move, Veini Vehvilainen also was moved to the taxi squad on Tuesday. He’ll stay practicing with the Maple Leafs until Andersen is ready to play again; then he likely will be moved to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
In the third roster move, Ian Scott was sent back to the Marlies on Tuesday. He wasn’t expected to see any time game action with the Maple Leafs and didn’t. However, the 22-year-old Scott will likely get some game action in with the Marlies.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
The Maple Leafs will play the Canadiens tonight looking to push its current record to 8-0-1. If Campbell can win, he’ll hold the franchise record for wins in consecutive games played. Given the history of the Original Six franchise, that’s quite an accomplishment. Good luck to him and the team on this quest.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf