Brian Burke's Vision
The new Maples Leafs General Manager and President is beginning to make his mark on this team. We all knew eventually their would be a changing of the guard here in Toronto under a new General Manager of Burke's ilk. He has emptied the Leafs net so far this offseason and here is a look at the players and now coaches involved.
Vesa seems to be the only safe man in the Maple Leaf net this summer. His play for the Leafs during the 2007-2008 season can only be described as solid. He put up a 2.74 goals against average, a 0.904 save percentage, and 3 shutouts in 66 games. On many nights he was the only thing that kept the poor defense of the team in the game.
Although the 2008-2009 season was a disappointment when he showed 3.26 goals against average, a 0.891 save percentage, and only 1 shutout. Hardly the numbers a starting goaltender needs to put up at this level.
Although he was shut down for the season after 53 games due to an injury, so I put my money on Toskala coming back in the 2009-2010 season with a save percentage better than 0.900 save percentage.
After his stellar junior career and winning gold at the World Junior Championships with Canada Pogge was anointed the goaltender of the future for the Leafs. Unfortunately things have not played out that was for the young goaltender.
In 89 games at the AHL level from the 2006-2007 season to the 2007-2008 season Pogge put up a 2.71 goals against average, a 0.901 save percentage, and 7 shutouts. These are average numbers at the AHL level.
In terms of NHL play thus far Pogge has put up a 4.35 goals against average, a 0.844 save percentage, and no shutouts. Although these numbers are only over a span of seven games, they do not instill much confidence in his future as a NHL goaltender.
There are rumours this summer that Brian Burke will not renew the young goaltenders contract and cut the Leafs losses with this young man. I would hope they the Leafs will give this young man one more year to show if he has the talent and work ethic to be a good NHL goaltender.
After three solid NHL seasons split between Carolina and Ottawa, Gerber's fourth NHL season was a disappointment with Ottawa. He posted a 2.86 goals against average, a 0.899 save percentage, and 1 shutout. Ottawa even sent him to the AHL for a 14 game stint to work on his game. Eventually they waived him and the Leafs picked him up for the balance of the season.
With the Leafs Gerber once again put up respectable number with a 0.905 save percentage on an average Leafs team. Although he did show that he still has problems with his temper when he was suspended for 3 games for contact with a referee.
Brian Burke has worked with Gerber in the past when he was breaking into the league as a back up with Anaheim. While Burke's familiarity with Gerber could play into him staying with the Leafs, my thought is to let him go. On a rebuildng team a hot head goaltender will not be good for a young defense.
Unfortunately Cujo has shown in the past 2 seasons that age has finally caught up with this future Hall of Famer. All I have to say is thank you Cujo for the amazing years you provided Maple Leaf fans with. Enjoy your retirement!
Brian Burke has made a great move in acquiring the goaltending genius of Francois Allarie. He worked with Burke in Anaheim, where he turned a raw goaltending cast off of the Calgary Flames (J.S. Giguere) and turned him into a Conn Symthe Trophy winner and a Stanley Cup winner.
He was also the genius behind Patrick Roy while he was in Montreal from 1984 to 1996. While Patrick Roy was an amazing canvas to work with as a coach, do not kid yourself a good goaltending coach does make a difference.
This move can only improve the Maple Leafs and specifically Vesa Toskala. It is good that this move was made early in the offseason as this will give Allaire time through the summer to work with his new projects.
Thumbs up to Burke!
The man they call "THE MONSTER" in Sweden could be the back up goalie needed to push Toskala. It is possible that this ma could provide us with the same "problems" that Anaheim had this past season with Jonas Hiller and J.S. Giguere.
Gustavsson will be making his tour of the various cities his is interested in North America soon. With multiculturalism here in Toronto and the wide open net in Toronto, look for "THE MONSTER" to sign in Toronto and push Toskala for the starters position.