Maple Leafs Acquire New Backup Goaltender
The backup goaltending situation in Toronto this season has been questionable. While Frederik Andersen has turned out to be exactly what the Leafs want in a starter, it turns out neither Jhonas Enroth or Antoine Bibeau could fill the backup position appropriately.
Enroth was unable to win a single game for the Maple Leafs this season, turning over an 0-3-1 record. This lead to him being waived, and eventually making his way down to the Marlies squad after no other teams filed a claim. Meanwhile, Bibeau earned a 1-1 record in only two starts and has also been used frequently for the farm club.
For a while, it appeared as though Karri Ramo would be earning the backup role with the Leafs. Unfortunately, he has only played in three games for the Marlies while trying to recover from an injury.
With the news yesterday that the Blue Jackets surprisingly waived Curtis McElhinney, one had to assume that at least NHL team would try to make a claim. Not surprisingly, it was the Leafs who came away with the veteran goaltender, hoping to have once and for all resolved their backup problems.
McElhinney might turn into the surprise acquisition of the season, especially after his interesting dismissal from the Blue Jackets. He has posted solid numbers thus far this season, earning a .924 save percentage as well as a 2.39 goals against average. His 2-1-2 record is far from terrible, and he should slot in nicely behind Andersen while providing a capable backup for the young Maple Leafs roster.
With the Maple Leafs fighting hard for a wild card spot during the second half of the season, each and every point will be valuable. Placing McElhinney in a few games here and there could yield better results than previous backups, and he might be just what the Leafs need to turn into a playoff team.