Toronto Maple Leafs Keeper Minutes Plans

Toronto Maple Leafs Keeper Minutes Plans
Toronto Maple Leafs Keeper Minutes Plans

While many were hoping that the Toronto Maple Leafs would sign a top goalie to be the number one pick for the 2024-25 season, with the likes of Juuse Saros, Jacob Markström and Linus Ullmark potentially available,…

Ultimately, here’s what happened: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving signed Joseph Woll to a three-year contract extension worth nearly $3.67 million. At the same time, he signed free agent Anthony Stolarz to a two-year, $2.5 million contract and Matt Murray to a one-year, $875,000 contract.

The details of Murray’s contract have not yet been confirmed, but it appears to be the exact same contract that Martin Jones signed over the summer. Part of the deal Jones signed would see him earn a $100,000 signing bonus at the start of the season, which was waiver protection in a way, as the club put him on waivers and if a team claimed him, they would immediately be hit with a $100,000 signing bonus.

If Murray’s contract contains the same provision, you can expect the same scenario and see him start the season with the Toronto Marlies.

Going into the season, Joseph Woll is expected to be the club’s starter, but what does that mean? The soon-to-be 27-year-old has never played more than 32 games in a season since turning pro in 2019-20, and he hasn’t played 30 games since that first season. Last year would be considered a full-time NHL goalie for the first time, and he played in just 25 regular season games and three playoff games after suffering two separate injuries during the season.

I think the best case scenario is that you hope Woll can play 40 games and as such Craig Berube should plan his minutes accordingly. To start the season, the new Maple Leafs coach should start Woll no more than two games in a row and never back to back.

If, and that’s a big one, Woll can start 40 games, that leaves a similar number of games to fill. Recently signed Anthony Stalock to a two-year, $2.5 million-per-year contract, he could be one of the top five signings on July 1.

The 6’6″ goalie finally got his chance to play behind a top NHL team in 2023-24 and took advantage of the opportunity, posting a 2.05 GAA and .925 save percentage in 25 games. The important part of that sentence is 25 games was an NHL career high for the New Jersey native.

Like Woll, Stolarz has never had a consistently heavy workload in his career. He played in 40 games in 2019-20 split between the NHL and AHL, and nearly a decade ago in 2015-16 he played in 47 games in the AHL. Outside of those two seasons, Stolarz has not played 40 games in a season, but unlike Woll, that has more to do with being a career backup than injuries.

The ideal situation is for both goalies to stay healthy and push each other in the same way that Boston Bruins duo Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have done in recent seasons. Last year, Swayman started 43 games and Ullmark started 39.

Injuries to Woll and Stolarz or both are likely, which is where Murray and Hildeby come in. Murray is a complete question mark, having only just returned to action after major hip surgery, while Hildeby has yet to play in the NHL.

The best case scenario is that Woll starts 42 games and Stolarz gets the other 40 games. The most likely scenario is that Stolarz gets 35 games, Woll 30 games, Hildeby 7 games and Murray 5.