Ranking Every Starting Goaltender In Toronto Maple Leafs History

Ranking Every Starting Goaltender In Toronto Maple Leafs History

Source: Thesportster.com

 

 

 

 

Ranking every starting goaltender in the history of a 100 year old franchise is a daunting task. Determining what factors each goalie should be evaluated on is complicated by the many statistics which do not compare well across generations. As such, “Goals Against Average” and “Save Percentage” just aren’t accurate measurements of how much a starting goalie meant to the Leafs during any given era.

In order to rank each Leafs starting goalie we calculated how successful the Leafs were during said goalie’s stint, how much the goalie meant to that success, and the importance of that period in Maple Leafs history.

In order to qualify as the team’s “starting goalie”, the goalie in question must have been the most active goalie on the team for at least one full season. Under that criteria some goalies, such as Jean Sebastien Giguere, have been deemed ineligible for ranking.

Only a goalie’s contributions while a member of the Maple Leafs was evaluated in the making of this list. For instance, Grant Fuhr may have accomplished much for the Edmonton Oilers, but he did very little for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

31. BERT LINDSAY (1918-19)

When Hap Holmes left for Seattle following Toronto’s first season in the NHL, it left Bert Lindsay in net for the club.

Lindsay had a 14 year professional hockey career going into the 1918-19 season, but his year with Toronto would be his last. Speaking of last, that is where Toronto finished in both the first half and the second half of the season that year. They went from the best team in the league to the worst in just one season. Part of that may of had to do with former Toronto owner, Eddie Livingstone, trying everything he could do to make life difficult for the Toronto Arena Company which now owned the team.

You might know Bert Lindsay more as the father of future NHL Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay.

Ranking summary: one season, failed to make the playoffs.

30. PETER ING (1990-91)

Peter Ing’s first and only year as the Leafs starting goalie was the 1990-91 season. Things had not been going well for the Leafs since 1967 at this point. The 1970s saw the team fail to make it past the second round of the playoffs all but one year, but the roof really caved in during the 1980s. In that decade the Leafs failed to make the playoffs on 4 occasions, and only made it past the 1st round of the playoffs twice.

With Ken Wregget and Alan Bester gone the Leafs went to rookie Peter Ing for the first season of the 90s. It went terribly for everyone. The Leafs finished last and failed to make the playoffs. That off-season Ing was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him and others to the Oilers, while the Leafs got Grant Fuhr in return.

Ranking summary: one season, failed to make the playoffs.

29. JONAS GUSTAVSSON (2009-12)

Jonas Gustavsson was supposed to be good. He was supposed to be the next big goalie in Toronto’s history. A lot was made of his signing with the club in the 2009 off-season, but nothing worked out as planned.

During Gustavsson’s 3 years with the Leafs he never had a firm grasp on the starting position. Throughout his stint with the Leafs, Gustavsson would share goaltending duties with Vesa Toskala, Jean Sebastien Giguere and James Reimer. The team failed to get to the playoffs in each of Gustavsson’s seasons with the team.

He would sign with Detroit in the 2012 off-season, and has never caught on as a starting goalie in the NHL.

Ranking summary: barely achieved “starting goalie” status. Never made the playoffs.

28. ANDREW RAYCROFT (2006-08)

Boston Bruins rookie Andrew Raycroft won the calder trophy for his 2003-04 season, so when the Leafs needed a goalie to replace Ed Belfour for the 2005-06 season, he seemed like a good guy to trade for. They opted to trade Tuukka Rask to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft. It’s fair to say it didn’t work out as Leaf fans had hoped for.

Raycroft was coming to a Leaf team that had experienced terrific goaltending for the last decade. Felix Potvin invigorated the team in the 90s, CuJo then took things a step further, and Ed Belfour was superb in the early 2000s. Raycroft’s stint as Leafs goalie would be coloured by comparisons to Tuukka Rask, and not favourably.

The Leafs failed to make the playoffs in Raycroft’s only year as Leafs starter. He played in 18 games the next season, and the Leafs again failed to make the playoffs that year. He signed with Colorado as a free agent the following off-season.

Ranking summary: Traded for Rask, who set a club record in wins; failed to make the playoffs.

27. IVAN MITCHELL (1919-20)

The 3rd starting goalie in the history of Toronto’s NHL franchise, and the first for the club when they were known as the St. Patricks was Ivan Mitchell.

At the time Toronto had a large Irish population, and the new owners of the team felt marketing the team to appeal to that population was a solid strategy.

Mitchell was only the starting goalie for the club for one season, 1919-1920. That year the team failed to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, though they approved upon their last place season the previous year. The following year Mitchell would be injured and only appear in two games. He played sparingly for the Leafs afterwards. He would also play a few years with the Portland Rosebuds.

Ranking summary: one season, no playoffs.

26. ED CHADWICK (1956-59)

Ed Chadwick took the role as Leafs backstopper in 1956, in the hopes that he would end the club’s 5-year Stanley Cup draught. After achieving dynasty status from 1945-51, the team was struggling to make up for losing goalie Turk Broda to retirement in 1951.

Chadwick would be the Leafs 4th starting goalie in the 5 seasons since Broda retired, and he wouldn’t fair much better than the first 3. He played a club record 140 games in a row, but he found himself out of favour as the club’s starting goalie in the middle of the 58-59 season. He would spend the rest of his career bouncing around with various teams in the AHL.

Ranking summary: 1.5 seasons, no playoff appearances.

25. GRANT FUHR (1991-93)

The Leafs must have felt confident they had gotten the goalie of their dreams when they traded for Fuhr in 1991. After all this was the guy who was between the pipes for the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s, perhaps he could usher in a Toronto dynasty for the 1990s! Didn’t happen, it didn’t even come close.

While this can’t be pinned on Fuhr, the team again failed to make the playoffs in 1992, though their record improved from the previous year. In February 1993, with youngster Felix Potvin playing well, the Leafs ended their Grant Fuhr experiment, trading him to Buffalo.

Ranking summary: 1.5 seasons, no playoff appearances.

24. VESA TOSKALA (2007-2010)

Vesa Toskala ended up outplaying the then Leafs starting goalie Andrew Raycroft in the 2007-08 season. He would eventually take the starting position away from him that season, and Raycroft would sign with Colorado that summer.

Toskala had been up and down in the Sharks system since the 01-02 season, and really hadn’t been thought of as anything but a back-up. Already in his 30s, Toskala became a starting goalie in the NHL for the first time in 2007, and would hold the position until the Leafs traded him to Anaheim in 2010. The Leafs struggled during Toskala’s entire stint as the team’s starting goalie, failing to sniff the playoffs even once.

Ranking summary: 3 seasons and no playoff appearances.

23. JONATHAN BERNIER (2013-2016)

After the Leafs ended their nearly decade long playoff draught in 2013, but then collapsed in epic fashion to Boston in game 7, the team wasn’t convinced that James Reimer was going to be the elite level goalie they needed.

Bernier had impressed a lot of people in LA but was never going to win the starting position away from Jonathan Quick. He would be the Leafs starting goalie for the better part of 3 forgettable seasons. The Leafs failed to make the playoffs from 2014-2016, during Bernier’s term as starting goalie.

He would be traded to Anaheim in the 2016 off-season.

Ranking summary: 3 seasons and no playoff appearances.

22. FREDERIK ANDERSEN (2016-CURRENT)

Pretty tough to evaluate Frederik Andersen this early in his stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but so far so good! As of this writing the Leafs are currently battling it out for a playoff spot with 20 games to go.

Andersen had spent 3 seasons with Anaheim before the Leafs traded a 1st and 2nd round draft pick to get him. Andersen’s performance thus far can be summed up as “streaky, but generally good”. The team is playing with 10 rookies regularly in their lineup but are as competitive as they have been in years.

Should the Leafs make the playoffs this year, it will be only the second time they have done so since 2004, when Ed Belfour was still their starting goalie.

Ranking summary: too early to tell. The Leafs look like they might get back into the playoffs this year, which already puts him ahead of many past Leaf starting goalies.

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