3 Potential Maple Leafs’ Trade Targets as Goalie Search Begins

The Toronto Maple Leafs have quickly become desperate for a goaltender. This comes after an offseason where general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas felt reasonably secure with his tandem approach, by signing Ilya Samsonov and acquiring Matt Murray.

First Murray went down, and now Samsonov, and even though Murray is set to return to practice this week after battling an abductor injury, Toronto is no doubt going to make some calls to get a sense of the asking price on some veteran help via the trade market. The inexperienced Erik Kallgren can only hold down the fort for so long.

Let’s take a look at three goaltenders who could provide some depth for the Maple Leafs:

Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars

A goaltender who would cost barely anything to acquire, Dallas Stars’ goalie Anton Khudobin has been buried in the minors for a while now and could be a legitimate option for the Maple Leafs to help fill the void.

Anton Khudobin Dallas Stars
Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The only way this deal gets pulled off is by the Stars retaining 50 percent of Khudobin’s salary, which at the moment is $2.2 million because he’s become a ‘buried penalty’ player in the minors. So far this season in six appearances in the American Hockey League, the 36-year-old has put up some mediocre numbers, with a .909 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.83 goals against average (GAA).

Related: Toronto Maple Leafs Having Hard Time Finding Trade Partners

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This would be a risky trade and not a goaltender who is strong enough to lead the Maple Leafs into the Stanley Cup Playoffs if need be. Obviously, the team hopes one of Murray or Samsonov will be healthy enough at that point to do so. The Maple Leafs’ salary cap issues, along with some uncertainty around Jake Muzzin’s future and the health of Samsonov and Murray make any deal difficult, but this one more than others because of Khudobin’s contract.

Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets

The one target who makes the most sense, Joonas Korpisalo finds himself as the backup on a very bad team that appears headed for the NHL Draft lottery next spring. Korpisalo is also a pending free agent who is only making $1.3 million against the salary cap.

Joonas Korpisalo Columbus Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

We’ve seen the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets pull off trades in recent seasons, so this certainly helps the cause when it comes to negotiations. The Blue Jackets have Daniil Tarasov, who they love, and he appears to be next in line for an opportunity in goal in Columbus, leaving Korpisalo as a likely afterthought at season’s end.

The acquisition cost would likely be minimal for this trade to take place and it would likely include a couple of mid-level prospects. Again, not necessarily the best long-term solution, but someone who makes a ton of sense given the circumstances. Don’t be surprised to hear about these two teams talking trade in the very near future.

Anthony Stolarz, Anaheim Ducks

While James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings may appeal to some, Anthony Stolarz of the Anaheim Ducks is a cheaper alternative who could become a legitimate target for the Maple Leafs. The 28-year-old is a pending free agent who makes $950,000 against the cap this season. Given the Ducks are likely a basement-dwelling team this season, Stolarz is someone who could be flipped for some younger pieces to help the rebuild in Anaheim.

Anthony Stolarz Anaheim Ducks
Anthony Stolarz, Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images),

The acquisition price here would probably be the most expensive of these three named targets, as Stolarz is the youngest of the group. He was a teammate of Mitch Marner with the London Knights and is someone Maple Leafs’ management is familiar with and likely interested in.

So far this season, Stolarz is 2-1-0, posting a 3.90 GAA and a .901 SV%. Again, the Ducks are a bad team so don’t worry too much about those numbers, as we can circle back to last season and see that Stolarz posted a respectable 12-8-3 record with a .917 SV%. He’s someone who could provide the Maple Leafs with a longer-term solution, should Murray continue to get hurt and with the uncertainty surrounding Samsonov’s knee injury.

The Maple Leafs have some decisions to make in goal, however, the health of Murray and the play of Kallgren are going to influence what happens this week. The team will wait and see how strong Murray looks in his return to practice, and they’ll likely let Kallgren’s leash grow with every win. Regardless, Dubas and company should start making trade calls to get a sense of who is available on the market. These three options are likely names they’ll check in on, but for now, it’s the Kallgren show, one Leafs Nation had no idea they’d be signing up for this season.

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