By Stan Smith & The Old Prof
The goaltending depth for the Toronto Maple Leafs took a hit today and on Friday night. Today, Matt Murray went down during practice with a groin injury. On Friday night, Toronto Marlies Erik Kallgren was injured in a collision with Ethan Prow of the Rochester Americans during the Toronto Marlies season opener in Rochester.
Matt Murray’s Status Is Unknown
Today, Murray left minutes into Saturday’s skate with some discomfort in his groin. Before he left, he consulted with new Maple Leafs’ goaltending coach Curtis Sanford.
Obviously, it’s a concern for the team, and reporters were interested. Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe told the media that it was too early to determine Murray’s long-term availability. Murray would be evaluated.
That does mean for tonight that Ilya Samsonov would probably get the start against the Ottawa Senators.
What complicates Murray’s injury status is the status of last season’s backup goalie Kallgren. With Kallgren injured as well, who’ll be the backup goalie for tonight’s game? Furthermore, who will jump into the fray for the rest of the season if Murray can’t play for an extended period of time?
How Long Is Kallgren Out? We Don’t Know Yet
Exactly how badly hurt Kallgren is or how long he will be out is unknown at this time. With Joseph Woll out recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, it leaves the Maple Leafs with two options now that Matt Murray is injured. Those goalies would be the next goaltenders on the organization’s depth chart – Keith Petruzzelli and Dylan Ferguson.
Neither of these goalies has much NHL experience. They don’t even have much AHL experience. Twenty-three-year-old Petruzzelli has played a total of five AHL games to his name. Twenty-four-year-old Ferguson has played 13 games in the AHL over the last three seasons. He had a random start with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 where he played nine minutes.
Another problem is neither player is signed to contract with the Maple Leafs. Petruzzelli is signed to a two-year Marlies deal. The last we heard Ferguson was on a PTO (Professional Try Out) with the Marlies after being released from his PTO.
To make matters worse the Maple Leafs are presently at their 50-contract limit. To promote either goalie, would they have somehow had to divest themselves of a signed player in their system? Or could they have an emergency call-up?
What About Dennis Hildeby, Luke Cavallin, or Dryden McKay?
They have 21-year-old goalie Dennis Hildeby who they drafted 122nd overall in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and then signed to a three-year Entry Level Contract. He’s presently on loan to the Swedish Hockey League. The Maple Leafs could use him to fill a vacancy with the Marlies. We can’t see them promoting him all the way to the big team.
If we dig really deep the website Eliteprospects.com lists two contracted goalies on the Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate Newfoundland Growlers 2022-23 roster. Twenty-one-year-old Luke Cavallin and 24-year-old Dryden McKay. Cavallin hasn’t played at any level above Juniors yet, and McKay spent the last four seasons with Minnesota State University. These young players don’t appear to be realistic options either.
The end result is the Maple Leafs – even before Murray’s injury – had the bare minimum of two goalies with the Maple Leafs in Murray and Samsonov. With Kallgren hurt, they also had the bare minimum of two goalies with the Marlies in Petruzzelli and Ferguson.
Right now, there seem like no other viable options if any of these players are injured.