Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe delivered concerning news this week regarding the status of goaltender Joseph Woll, stating that he is “not anywhere close to game action.”
This revelation has raised worries among the Maple Leafs faithful, especially considering Woll’s stellar performance prior to his injury and the team’s need for a reliable netminder in the run-up to the NHL Trade Deadline.
Before the unfortunate setback, Woll was showcasing elite-level play and was a serious contender for the Calder Trophy. His contribution became even more significant amid Ilya Samsonov’s shaky start, positioning Woll as a potential savior to lead the team into the playoffs. However, fate took a turn, and a freakish injury has sidelined him for the past two months.
With the trade deadline looming just over a month away, the Leafs face a time crunch to evaluate their goaltending options. Keefe’s statement that Woll is “not anywhere close to playing” raises questions about the timeline for his return. Is it a matter of two weeks, or could it potentially stretch to another two months?
The uncertainty surrounding Woll’s return also begs the question of whether he will be the same goaltender who dazzled fans before his injury. Meanwhile, Samsonov has shown improvement, and Martin Jones has performed admirably as the third-string goalie. However, the looming question remains: Are these options sufficient to secure a playoff round victory?
Some believe that the team’s current state is subpar, and going “all-in” at the trade deadline might be a misguided move. Despite this, the prevailing sentiment is that the Leafs will likely be buyers rather than sellers. The fear is that team president Brendan Shanahan might invest valuable draft picks and assets in an attempt to bolster a roster that some see as mediocre.
If the Leafs are indeed poised to make a significant move, the consensus is that acquiring a top-tier goaltender should be the priority. Here are three high-profile options that the Leafs could potentially target in the upcoming trade talks.