With 14 games left in the regular season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the franchise's front office is wise to pursue veteran help in goal in hopes of making a deep playoff run this spring.
Toronto, which currently holds down the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference more two-thirds of the way through the season, is very much interested in bringing in an experienced netminder before the April 3 trade deadline to help take some of the pressure off James Reimer and Ben Scrivens according to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger (via Twitter):
Lots of twitter noise about Leafs interest in Kiprusoff as reported on TSN. Of course Leafs will inquire IF he's available. Due diligence.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 26, 2013
Don't confuse interest with current trade talks or offers. Toronto would like to add a vet goalie. IF Kipper is avail, calls will be made.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 26, 2013
Dreger mentions Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff as a potential target and for good reason. The Flames are one of the worst teams in the league and will likely be willing to part ways with some players in anticipation for the offseason.
Plus, the 36-year-old Kiprusoff has 11 and a half NHL seasons under his belt and 54 career playoff starts. Reimer and Scrivens have zero playoff experience between them.
It's no secret that the Maple Leafs' biggest issue right now is in between the crease, where Toronto ranked 18th in the NHL in goals against (2.8) coming into Tuesday night. Although the Leafs can be much better on the power play (16th in the NHL at 18.1 percent), they kill penalties better than 25 over teams in the league and can score with anyone.
Will the Maple Leafs make the playoffs in 2013?
Coming into Tuesday, Toronto had lost seven of nine games overall, allowing 3.8 goals per game over that stretch. Prior to the Leafs' poor stretch, which began on March 7, they were allowing just 2.7 goals per game through the first half of the season.
Clearly Toronto is trending in the wrong direction at the worst possible time with only a month left to play in the regular season. At this point, bringing in a veteran netminder isn't an option, but a must.
Kiprusoff isn't Toronto's only option this spring, but given Calgary's situation and his 2.3 goals against career postseason average, he looks to be a fantastic option for the Maple Leafs as they attempt to maintain their footing in the Eastern Conference playoff race in 2013.
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