Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maple Leaf goalie situation

Brian Burke has thanked Curtis Joseph for his years of service as he shoved Cujo out the front door. Now word is spreading that Burke will not retain the services of restricted free agent Justin Pogge. So much for the goalie of the future. It obviously didn't come soon enough.

This means that the Leafs will likely pursue a free agent to back up Vesa Toskala. It could be Martin Gerber who played decent though not great in his short run with the Leafs. Clearly Gerber is not Plan A. Burke has stated that Swedish free agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson is who he is after. Gustavsson is planning to visit a few NHL cities including Toronto this month to determine who he signs with.

It appears that the Leafs still have faith in Vesa Toskala but coming off two injury plagued seasons and a $4 million contract, what choice do they have? Probably the biggest news on the goaltending front was the signing of François Allaire as goaltending consultant from Anaheim. He will not take over from Corey Hirsh as their goalie coach. He is considered one of the best in the business and is credited with developing Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller in Anaheim and Patrick Roy in Montreal.

Allaire may be used to convince Gustavsson to sign with Toronto. But there are rumblings that Burke may be interested in picking up Giguere who lost his job to Hiller this past season and perhaps the Allaire signing is connected. Giguere has two years left on his contract for a total of $13 million which is a lot for a backup. For this to work the Ducks would have to take back Toskala. He could be their backup and provide a signficant savings for the Ducks who have cap problems. Toskala and Giguere are the same age but Giguere is clearly the better goalie at this stage of their careers.

Should be interesting.