Monday night’s match-up between the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs has not one but two unexpected twists, both revealed in the hour leading up to puck-drop. The Flames first announced that starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom would not dress tonight and is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Minutes later, the Maple Leafs announced that their own starter, Frederik Andersen, also would not dress due to an undisclosed lower-body injury. It is not clear at this time how or when either injury was sustained.
In the long-term, the loss of Markstrom, possibly for multiple games, is the bigger story. A talented Flames roster has underachieved so far this season and are currently outside of the playoff picture. In a competitive North Division, Calgary is relying on major free agent acquisition Markstrom to help them battle back into postseason position. For the time being though, they will have to lean on incumbent David Rittich who has been serviceable in the past but is a notable downgrade from Markstrom. The team also used an emergency recall to add Artyom Zagidulin to the roster to dress as the backup tonight and possibly longer. The former KHL standout has a chance to make his NHL debut if his stay in Calgary is extended.
In the short-term though, the loss of yet another goalie in the Toronto organization is a major concern, especially if Andersen misses multiple games. The Leafs sit comfortably atop the division and can rely on the experienced Michael Hutchinson for a while. However, Hutchinson began the season as the Leafs’ fourth-string goalie. It has taken the waiver departure of Aaron Dell and injuries to Jack Campbell and now Andersen to boost Hutchison to the interim starter role. Behind him, untested Joseph Woll has been recalled to dress as backup and was the only choice, as the only other pro goalie under contract – Ian Scott – is also injured. The Leafs are an extended absence for Andersen or another injury in goal away from having to acquire another net minder.