The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t currently have a starting goalie for next season. Petr Mrazek is signed but has already worn out his welcome with fans after struggling through injuries and poor play in his first go-round with the team. Handing him the majority of the starts would be flirting with disaster after his .888 save percentage in 2021-22. Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll are both on two-way deals for next year and have shown at least some ability to contribute at the NHL level, but again aren’t really options to start.
That situation has always suggested that the team would bring back Jack Campbell, an unrestricted free agent this summer after finding his game in Toronto. Perhaps that shouldn’t be assumed, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet writes in his latest 32 Thoughts column that the two sides were far apart the last time they talked, and Campbell’s agent tells him there has been “no material contract conversation” since the end of the season.
While that certainly doesn’t guarantee a split between Campbell and the Maple Leafs, it would be easy to understand why, if it did happen. Even with Mark Giordano giving the team a substantial discount on his new deal, Toronto is still in a very tight cap situation for next season, partially because of the $3.8MM that Mrazek carries. If the team can’t get rid of that number somehow, it stands to reason that they will be forced to rely on him as at least a tandem option.
There are still several weeks before free agency opens, and things like contract negotiations can change dramatically with one phone call, but the Maple Leafs goaltending situation is an interesting one to watch. With the market looking rather scarce on starting options, it’s hard to know what direction the team will take if they can’t get a contract worked out.
For Campbell himself, this is likely the best chance he’ll ever have at a substantial payday in the NHL. The 30-year-old goaltender has posted a .916 save percentage in 77 appearances with Toronto, including a career-high 49 this season. While there have certainly been rocky periods, he has also shown brilliance for stretches and confirmed that he can at least be an above-average option at the NHL level. A multi-year contract with a significant raise on the $1.8MM he made this season seems likely. Whether it will be in Toronto remains to be seen.