Maple Leafs Should Look to Golden Knights for Goaltending Help

Entering the 2022-23 season, there were plenty of questions surrounding the goaltending of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The duo of two castoffs in Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov seemed to have a much higher chance of going poorly than it did well. Now, roughly a month into the season, we have come to realize that the tandem hasn’t been exactly ideal to this point, though not for the exact reasons we all expected.

Related: 3 Potential Maple Leafs’ Trade Targets as Goalie Search Begins

After appearing in just one game this season, Murray suffered an abductor injury during a morning skate, and as a result, was placed on long-term injured reserve. Samsonov stepped up in an admirable way in his netminding partner’s absence, but has since been placed on injured reserve himself with a knee injury.

As a result of these injuries, the Maple Leafs are currently being forced to rely on a duo of Erik Kallgren and Keith Petruzzelli, one of which has combined for just 19 games at the NHL level. Safe to say, they need to explore the trade market for a goaltender, and the Vegas Golden Knights may be the team to help offer a solution.

Golden Knights Have Goaltending Logjam

Much like the Maple Leafs, the Golden Knights entered the 2022-23 season with serious concerns regarding their goaltending position. This came as a result of their number one in Robin Lehner being ruled out for the entire season due to hip surgery. Meanwhile, backup Laurent Brossoit was also unavailable at the beginning of the year, forcing management to go with Logan Thompson as their starter, while acquiring Adin Hill from the San Jose Sharks to handle backup duties.

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So far, so good for the Golden Knights, as both Thompson and Hill have been outstanding in the early stages of the 2022-23 campaign. In fact, they have been so good that plenty of questions have begun to surround the future of Brossoit, who was recently assigned to the American Hockey League (AHL) on a conditioning loan and is nearing a return. As a result, general manager Kelly McCrimmon may soon be forced to make a trade.

Laurent Brossoit Vegas Golden Knights
Laurent Brossoit, Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While having goaltending depth is never a bad thing, it makes little sense for the Golden Knights to hold onto all three of Thompson, Hill, and Brossoit. After all, they already have a veteran third-stringer in Michael Hutchinson with their AHL affiliate, where he is splitting the net with prospect Jiri Patera. There is simply no room for all of them to co-exist.

With that said, there is no chance Thompson is going anywhere, as he appears to be a needle in a haystack type of find by the Golden Knights. Hill is also unlikely to be moved given how well he has played early into this season, making Brossoit the probable option.

Though Brossoit isn’t the most appealing name to go out and acquire, he has been a serviceable backup at the NHL level over the past four seasons. He wouldn’t cost Kyle Dubas a whole lot and is in the final year of a two-year contract that carries a $2.325 million cap hit. By no means is he the goaltender to lead the Leafs to the promised land, but he would be able to fill their current void until both Murray and Samsonov are back and ready to go.

Leafs & Golden Knights in Same Cap Situation

The interesting part when it comes to these two teams is that neither have any cap space available at the moment. That means that Dubas and McCrimmon would have to figure out a way to pull this deal off, though they have both proven before that they are capable of navigating around the cap when necessary.

Laurent Brossoit Vegas Golden Knights
Laurent Brossoit, Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

For the Maple Leafs sake, this is a deal they should really consider making sooner than later, as there aren’t a ton of available goaltenders right now, and few, if any, would come at a cheaper cost than Brossoit. Whether they have to involve a third team to find a way to make the deal work from a salary perspective or not is up to Dubas to figure out, but one way or another, he has to find a way to bring in some goaltending help in the very near future.

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