The 31-year-old made a strong first impression in his rookie NHL year back in 2016-17 when he posted a .931 SV% in 20 games with San Jose. At that time, Dell looked like their possible starter of the future but he hasn’t come close to duplicating that type of success since then.
Last season, he made 30 starts for the Sharks with Martin Jones struggling and while both goalies had near-identical goals against averages (3.00 for Jones, 3.01 for Dell), Dell had the better save percentage by a decent-sized margin (.907 to .896). Accordingly, it looked like he’d have at least a chance at landing a backup spot in the NHL.
That won’t be the case with the Maple Leafs, however, as Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell are set as their tandem between the pipes. Instead, Dell will likely begin next season as the starter with the Marlies, their AHL affiliate; that void was created when Kasimir Kaskisuo opted to sign with Nashville earlier today. Assuming he does wind up there, it’ll be his first AHL action since 2016-17.
With 107 career NHL appearances under his belt, Dell gives Toronto a strong insurance policy if one of Andersen or Campbell goes down and if that doesn’t happen, he should be one of the better starters at the minor league level. The Maple Leafs had to pay a bit of a higher price in that it’s a one-way deal but at that cap hit if he’s needed with the big club, it’s a price that is certainly worth paying.