Tuesday: Hutchinson has cleared waivers. The Maple Leafs have already recalled Kaskisuo and didn’t take long to send Hutchinson to the AHL.
Monday: Michael Hutchinson has been placed on waivers today. It appears as though his opportunity as the Toronto Maple Leafs backup goaltender is over, as Bob McKenzie of TSN expects Kasimir Kaskisuo to be called up to take the role.
It’s been a nightmare season so far for Hutchinson, who lost his fifth start last night after giving up four goals to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period. The Maple Leafs only really play their backup in back-to-back situations, giving Hutchinson the short end of the stick each time, but his .879 save percentage simply hasn’t been good enough.
That’s not to say that Kaskisuo will fare any better, given he has never appeared in an NHL game previously. The 26-year old was an undrafted free agent signing out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and only really started to find minor league success during last season’s playoff run with the Toronto Marlies. He has a .928 save percentage this season however and has been a rock in net for the AHL club.
For the Maple Leafs, there is some chatter that they could look elsewhere for a different option in net. David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period tweets that they have looked at the market, even reaching out to Scott Darling before he decided to go overseas. The problem is their cap situation that will only really allow the backup to earn a minimum NHL salary of $700K. The team does have some potential flexibility given Mitch Marner will be out at least a month with an ankle injury, but that will come to an end when the star forward returns. Any move for a more expensive backup would complicate things quite a bit.