LeBrun: Pair of big-name goalies linked to Maple Leafs

Could GM Brad Treliving go big-game hunting this summer?

Michael W.

The season for the Toronto Maple Leafs ended once again in disappointing fashion, as they were felled by the rival Boston Bruins in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in what was yet another heartbreaking Game 7 setback at Boston's TD Garden. 

To start the playoffs, the Leafs elected to give the starting goaltender responsibilities to Ilya Samsonov despite his struggles and subsequent placement on waivers during the regular season. As you remember, he was the first Leafs goaltender since Ed Belfour in 2004 to lead Toronto to a postseason series victory. 

But after a mostly uninspiring performance, he was replaced for the 3rd period of Game 4 by the young Joseph Woll, whom the Leafs also turned to last season in the playoffs. Woll led the Leafs to victories in Game 5 and 6, but was hurt in the dying moments of his second straight start, forcing Samsonov to return to the crease for Game 7. 

Right now, most speculation is that the Leafs are done with Samsonov, who will see his one-year contract extension he inked (following salary arbitration last summer) expire on July 1. And according to a recent column by NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun, GM Brad Treliving could go big game hunting this summer. 

In LeBrun's words, the Leafs could target Juuse Saros from the Nashville Predators, or could also consider Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames, Treliving's former team. He wrote the following: 

"Listen, I get the Nashville speculation as fun game theory. The Predators need offense, and they might be willing to take bids on star goalie Juuse Saros (who also has one year left on his deal) with 2020 first-round pick Yaroslav Askarov having put in two full seasons in AHL Milwaukee and seemingly ready to make the jump.

A Saros-Joseph Woll duo in net in Toronto is a sexy thought. And I do believe it’s very much true that the Leafs want to go big-game hunting to find an upper-echelon goalie to help out the young Woll. Does Treliving try to rekindle things with Jacob Markstrom from Calgary? It wouldn’t surprise me."

The Leafs have already made one major change to their team, terminating head coach Sheldon Keefe and hiring Craig Berube in his stead. Could another major move be coming, this time between the pipes? 

Things are going to get very interesting in Toronto in the coming weeks and months.

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