The NHL trade deadline is less than three weeks away and Toronto Maple Leafs‘ general manager Kyle Dubas is working the phones, trying to improve his team’s chances down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Dubas isn’t alone, however, as this is the season of buying and selling among National Hockey League executives.
With Frederik Andersen not travelling with the team to New York for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers because of a neck injury that he suffered Monday night in a home loss to the Florida Panthers, the heat on Dubas to bolster Toronto’s backup goalie has been turned up.
Andersen is considered day-to-day so he will be back between the pipes sooner rather than later, but that shouldn’t stop Dubas from bringing in an upgrade to Michael Hutchinson.
There are more than a handful of backup netminders the Leafs can go after, but these five players are the ones that Dubas should target.
Alexander Georgiev, New York Rangers. The Bulgarian is 12-10-1 (3.01 goals-against average and .909 save percentage) on a team that is currently carrying three goalies. The 23-year-old, who will become a free agent on July 1, earns a very cap-friendly $729,500.
Jack Campbell, Los Angeles Kings. The 2010 first-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars is 8-10-2 this season with a 2.85 GAA and .900 save percentage on a bad Kings team. He makes $675,000 this year before his salary jumps to $1.65 million in each of the next two years.
Casey DeSmith, Pittsburgh Penguins. Earning $1.25 million through 2021-22, the 28-year-old DeSmith has spent this year in the AHL after losing the Pens’ backup job to all-star goalie Tristan Jarry. In 50 games with Pittsburgh, DeSmith is 21-15-6 with a more than respectable 2.66 GAA and .917 save percentage.
Alex Stalock, Minnesota Wild. The 32-year-old will make $785,000 for two more seasons after this year and is having a solid campaign (11-8-3, 2.93 GAA, .903 save percentage) on the last-place Wild. Devan Dubnyk is under contract for one more year in Minnesota and prospect Kaapo Kahkonen appears ready to make the jump to the big league.
Aaron Dell, San Jose Sharks. The Airdrie, Alberta native is playing some decent hockey on a Sharks team that has been in turmoil since the season began in October. At $1.9 million, the 30-year-old Dell (9-10-2, 2.82 GAA, .911 save percentage) is the most expensive option on this list.
What these goalies don’t have is a lot of experience starting playoff games, but that’s not what they will be brought to Toronto for.
The objective is to give Andersen — who has started the second most games this season — some rest, as well as boost the Maple Leafs’ playoff chances.