If you weren't convinced before the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, I'm sure you know now that the goalie position can be the single-most influential position in the NHL.
The likes of Jonathan Quick, Mike Smith and Henrik Lundqvist have been solid for their respective teams all year.
Granted, goalies are only one part of a winning equation. But apart from the Chicago Blackhawks of 2010, very few post-lockout teams have been able to win hockey's ultimate prize without solid play between the pipes.
So where does this leave the Toronto Maple Leafs? Unfortunately, on the outside looking in.
Don't worry though, GM Brian Burke is on the job. In nearly four years he has been unable to find a legitimate starting goalie, but that doesn't mean that he won't be able to acquire one in the next four months, right?
Sarcasm aside, Burke has his work cut out for him over the coming months.
In what could very well be his last offseason in Toronto, the big boss has to revamp a small, speedy team, into a big and tough Carlyle-type juggernaut—not an easy task, and one that I am willing to bet is not accomplished.
There is no easy fix in Toronto, but landing a No. 1 goalie may be as close as it gets. The problem with this is the simple fact that there does not seem to be many available.
Wait a minute, Roberto Luongo say you? If so, keep dreaming say I.
Which player will start in net for Toronto next season?
It's hard to blame him—why would he pass up the opportunity to play behind the NHL's most potent offensive threat, Steven Stamkos?
Tampa Bay would have more trouble acquiring Luongo than Toronto because of the salary cap, but I just don't see him in a Leafs uniform come next season.
Alternatively, Burke could choose to roll the dice again with James Reimer, or trade for a proven backup such as Josh Harding, Anders Lindback or Jonathan Bernier—all of whom seem poised to take on starting duties in the near future.
If you thought Mission Impossible was just a poor excuse for an action series, think again.
Let's start fielding offseason prop bets. Can Burke pull off a Tom Cruise and complete the impossible by landing a No. 1 goalie this offseason?
I'm not convinced, but what say you?
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