The Toronto Maple Leafs may be in somewhat of a pickle.
According to comments made by Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston during Saturday's Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs are at risk of losing yet another goaltender this season. Johnston touched on news that broke earlier today regarding the health of Leafs' goaltender Frederik Andersen, noting that the Maple Leafs starter had contracted the flu and discussing the very real problem that this now posed for the Maple Leafs organization.
Andersen's absence tonight is not the biggest issue for the Leafs but should his flu continue to be a hindrance to his ability to play it will cause on issue when the Maple Leafs face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. Due to Andersen's absence the Leafs were forced to give veteran backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson yet another start on Saturday night and not only did that leave the Maple Leafs with a backup in net for a very tough match up against the Boston Bruins but it pushed Hutchinson to 9 games played the on the season. It is for this reason that his potential start on Monday, a start that would be his 10th game of the season, would be a major headache for the Leafs and general manager Kyle Dubas.
Although the game would mark just his 6th as a Maple Leaf Hutchinson has previously played in 4 games a member of the Florida Panthers and that means that he would then have to be subjected to waivers if the Leafs wished to send him down. Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs the same is true for injured backup goalie Garrett Sparks, and that would leave the Leafs with a very difficult choice indeed.
Hutchinson has been relatively strong thus far when called upon by the Leafs and I do not think it is by any means a guarantee that the would be the man to face the waiver wire in the event that the Leafs would be forced to choose between him or Sparks. Sparks is the young man at 25 years of age but with the Maple Leafs looking to contend right now they could in theory lean with the hot hand.
Andersen's recovery from this flu prior to Monday could avoid a gigantic headache for Toronto moving forward. If not the Leafs could lose their third goalie to waivers in this season alone having previously lost Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard to the waiver wire.