The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the cusp of their first playoff appearance in the post-lockout era, and now is the time to get aggressive.
It’s no secret that the major Achilles' heel of the team is the goaltending. The team currently ranks 28th in goals-against per game (3.0), and all three goalies meant to protect the net for Toronto—Jonas Gustavsson, Ben Scrivens and James Reimer—are just barely above a save percentage of .900.
So who is available before next week’s trade deadline? GM Brian Burke admitted on a TSN radio interview that the team will “explore” potential trades for a goalie. Here are four options for the Maple Leafs to consider that have been suggested by Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun:
Evgeni Nabokov—New York Islanders
He is the best player on the board, but it’s unclear if the Islanders are prepared to part ways. Right now, they are attempting to sign him to a new long term deal.
This is the best case scenario, though it's likely just a pipe dream.
It’s not his fault the team stinks.
Sure the 39-year-old isn’t the long term answer, but his .914 save percentage and 2.60 goals-against suggest he could be a huge help come playoff time. You can never have enough postseason experience on your roster come April.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere—Colorado Avalanche
The Avs are in no-man’s land between making a playoff push and resetting for next year, so it’s hard to figure out what exactly their front office is currently thinking.
If they deiced to throw in the towel, Toronto has to jump on Giguere. He has a 2.12 goals against average and a 14-9-2 record as a starter.
The former Maple Leaf would be incredible for the stretch run.
Josh Harding- Minnesota Wild
The Wild already have Niklas Backstrom on the books for $6M this season, and that makes Harding very expendable. He hasn’t been great of late, but his track record suggests this is just a minor slump.
This is the most likely scenario and that would be terrific news for the Maple Leafs.