While wondering if Matt Murray is a viable option between the pipes, Maple Leaf fans should also consider the wider questions concerning the position after the departure of goalie coach Steve Briere, the increasingly likely exit of Jack Campbell and the always uncertain future of Petr Mrazek.
- Just want to be clear, before I start, I am not saying the Leafs lost their series against Tampa because of goaltending, because of Jack Campbell. I'm not saying that.
The big conversations happening on Twitter, any time people bring up the idea of needing to improve in goal, especially considering that Jack Campbell is likely on his way out. I mean, all the talks and all the numbers that he may want to deal kind of around Linus Ullmark, and Linus Ullmark had got like 4.5, kind of around there, over five years, don't think the Leafs can afford that.
So with the conversation of imagining a world without Jack Campbell, the whole thing has been like, oh, yes, Jack Campbell was a problem. No one's saying Jack Campbell is the problem, right? And I'm not saying Jack Campbell is the problem.
However, the Leafs, I think, have identified a weakness as an organization. Even before the playoffs started, they were signing college free agents. They were signing undrafted goaltending prospects, right. And even recently, Steve Briere, the goaltending coach-- he's been with the organization for about seven years now-- wasn't necessarily fired but his contract wasn't renewed. So it looks like there's going to be a new situation there.
And Briere's been very interesting. A lot of the talk around that has I think really blew up after that Amazon documentary. Sometimes it's tough to remember that. After that documentary, where Sheldon Keefe, Kyle Dubas, and the coaching staff, they're talking about a game, they're looking at a goal that Freddy Andersen should have had, or at least Keefe felt he should have had. Steve Briere was trying to support Andersen there, defend him a little bit. And it looks like there is some tension.
And based off the information, it does sound like Steve Briere was very, I guess, hm, was very supportive and perhaps overly supportive of goaltenders over the years. So it does not really surprising to see the Leafs kind of go down a different page there. But I think it'll be interesting to see what becomes of that moving forward.
So who's going to end up being the new goalie coach? Who's going to end up being the goaltender themselves? If Jack Campbell is gone, Peter Mrazek might be gone too. There are a lot of teams who could use an upgrade, an upgrade or at least a change in goaltending in some way, shape, or form. Heck, Edmonton just lost both goalies. I mean, Koskinen is going overseas and Mike Smith might retire. So there could be a deal that ends up being there.
But if that's the case, if we're talking about goalies who are leaving the Leafs, then who's actually going to be here, right, who's going to be here for 50 or 45 games or whatever. Who's going to be the starter in the playoffs? A lot of talk about that.
Chris Johnson suggested that, hey, maybe the Leafs might be looking at Matt Murray. Matt Murray won two Cups with Pittsburgh. It was solid. Went to Ottawa and it didn't go too well. Both on ice and off ice things, off ice things kind of was a mixed bag of a difficult year for Matt Murray.
And I think when it comes to players who have that kind of pedigree that Matt Murray does, there's always the question of, can we be the team that gives them the push to be, return to their former self, or even be even better? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know about that one.
I think it just comes down to the idea of what you think the issue is. I mean, was it the organization? Was it the situation? Was it just one bad year? I mean, goaltenders, for the most part, can be very up and down. I mean, again, as Leafs fans be able to know, many goaltenders that we've acquired from, who were great and then they came here and they were OK and then not so great afterwards.
So it's a very difficult and interesting conversation. Who is going to be the next one?