The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently dealing with a host of problems and there is no doubt about the tremendous amount of pressure that must now be on the shoulders of young Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. There have been rumbligns since as far back as last summer suggesting that Dubas has wanted to oust Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock but that he has been prevented from doing so by members of upper management in the Leafs organization, with many suspecting that Brendan Shanahan is the man keeping Babcock behind the Maple Leafs bench. Just last night however the rumors of Babcock's demise began to pop up once again after two tough back to back losses for the Maple Leafs.
Things would not be so bad for Dubas if it was just his head coach giving him headaches but that does not appear to be the case at all. According to recent reports it now appears as though Dubas' big offseason acquisition, defenseman Tyson Barrie, is not happy with the way he has been deployed in Toronto and it sounds like both sides realize that something needs to change. Barrie has not come out and demanded a trade just yet but it certainly sounds like things may currently be trending in that direction.
Still there are even more problems for the Toronto Maple Leafs as their current situation in goal has proven to be be yet another source of frustration for the organization. The Maple Leafs began the season with Michael Hutchinson as their backup goaltender but he quickly demonstrated that he was not up to the task, and now the Leafs have been forced to rely upon 26 year old unproven backup Kasimir Kaskisuo. Kaskisuo got his first chance to show his stuff on Saturday night and although the team in front of him deserves a lot of the blame for his poor performance, there was no question that he also was simply not up to the task. In his first NHL game Kaskisuo recorded a 6.00 goals against average and an .842 save percentage, numbers that will need to improve drastically if he is to remain the backup for the Maple Leafs.
On Saturday night Sportsnet NHL insider Chris Johnston touched on the possibility that the Maple Leafs could look to a familiar trade partner in the Pittsburgh Penguins in order to finally solve their problems in goal. Johnston did make it clear that he feels the Maple Leafs would like to give Kaskisuo at least a few more looks in goal before moving forward with a trade, but given their struggles and the poor performance of Kaskisuo you have to wonder how short of a leash the unproven backup may have.
"The Leafs aren't currently in the market for a backup goaltender... but should that change at some point I think a guy to keep in mind is Tristan Jarry in the Penguins net right now," said Johnston during the weekly Headlines segment. "Pittsburgh is in a unique position they have two very good goaltenders behind Matt Murray, that's Jarry and Casey DeSmith who is presently in the American Hockey League, and I do believe that they would be willing to move one of these guys if the right offer came along. What makes Jarry so appealing at this point is that he is just 24, he has a great start to the season, and he just counts $675,000 against the cap which obviously would have appeal for a team like Toronto in a cap bind."
The Maple Leafs and the Penguins have often been trade partners in the past and given the way things are trending in Toronto they may soon be once again.