There’s a rumour going around that the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in signing goaltender Brian Elliott. Given the team’s existing goaltending situation, I find that interesting. I hoped the team would re-sign Ilya Samsonov and then use Joe Woll as the backup.

However, it could be that new Maple Leafs’ GM Brad Treliving thinks Woll is not quite ready for prime time. We’ll see what happens.

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The Current Maple Leafs Goalie Situation

Currently, the Maple Leafs have Woll as their projected backup goalie; however, he has limited NHL experience. In truth, although he’s looked good in his time in NHL action, he has only played 11 regular-season games.

At the same time, the status of Matt Murray remains uncertain due to salary-cap constraints. From my perspective, it will be tough for the team to make the moves it wants to and carry Murray’s salary-cap hit at the same time.

It would seem that this situation has left the Maple Leafs seeking an experienced netminder who can provide stability and support when needed.

Is Brian Elliott the Goalie the Team Is After?

Elliott is a 38-year-old veteran with 16 years of NHL experience. He’s played for a number of NHL teams during his career. Most recently, he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his two seasons there, Elliott posted a 2.96 goals against average (GAA) and a .900 save percentage (SV%) in 41 games.

Given the Maple Leafs’ lack of goalie depth at the NHL level, Elliott could potentially become the team’s backup. However, it would seem to me that the Maple Leafs would want to carry Woll as the backup and, if he came, use Elliott as the insurance goalie in case there was an injury.

However, he might not play in the American Hockey League (AHL) at this stage of his career. In addition, the organization has a number of good prospects in their goalie pipeline. However, that doesn’t mean the Maple Leafs couldn’t move him between the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and the big club. They used Wayne Simmonds that way last season.

Such an arrangement would let Elliott stay ready without actually playing for the Marlies. He might also go for it because he’s a Toronto native. Most NHL players who are from the area seem to love coming home to play. Why not Elliott?

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Benefits and Considerations of Adding Elliott

Adding Elliott to the Maple Leafs’ roster as a backup goalie comes with benefits. On one hand, his experience and veteran presence could help bring stability to the goaltending position. His extensive NHL experience would provide valuable mentorship to the younger goalies in the organization.

That said, there are concerns about Elliott’s recent performance. Specifically, his save percentage has dropped below .900 over the past few seasons. The Maple Leafs would need to know if he can play well enough to help them win games. In addition, even a small contact adds to the team’s delicate salary cap issues. Money has to be taken into account.

Are There Other Options?

If the Maple Leafs decide against going after Elliott, what alternative options are there for getting another veteran goalie who could fill a similar role in 2023-24?

While I’m not Treliving and I don’t know the situation fully, the team already has four other goalies on NHL contracts within the organization. Can one of them rise to the challenge?

Didn’t Adin Hill win the Stanley Cup last season with the Vegas Golden Knights? And, he wasn’t on anyone’s radar before the season. Who’s to say Woll can’t continue to play well?

The Bottom Line

Elliott’s addition could offer a potential solution as the team seeks to bolster their goaltending depth. However, do the Maple Leafs really need to find another backup when they have a number of young goalies in the organization? I wonder.

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