Goalies on the Hot Seat: Maple Leafs

Updated: November 9, 2009 at 10:25 pm by Matt Bennett

Continuing a feature we’re going to look at frequently this year, which goalies are getting the majority of starts and who’s job is in jeopardy? Green means the goalie’s job appears safe, yellow would mean they are yielding more starts to their competitor than normal, red means the starting job appears to be more dependent on performance or a rotation.
Toskala-GustavssonHere’s what we know:

Vesa Toskala: 0-2-2 in 5 starts, 5.13 GAA and .836 SV%, 26% owned

Jonas Gustavsson: 3-2-3 in 7 starts, 2.60 GAA and .918 SV%, 35% owned

There’s no controversy, right?  You’d think so.  Coach Ron Wilson backed Gustavsson after practice, saying “If you win and you’re playing well, you get back in.”  However, Brian Burke is now stirring the pot in this red-hot goalie controversy and now leading us to believe that Vesa Toskala is still the team starter. When asked if Jonas Gustavsson has what it takes to be a number 1 goalie in the league, Burke responded that labeling “The Monster” a starter is premature and “five games or six games does not make a season”.  Burke later mentioned that it’s not unreasonable to imagine Gustavsson will emerge as a number 1 goalie but reinforced the fact that Vesa Toskala is still the team’s starting goaltender:

“Vesa is our starter.  The whole point of shutting him down last year – getting him healthy – signing Jonas – we couldn’t have been more clear on this through the summer.  We want Vesa to start and the Monster to play only 25-30 games. …Jonas has the net, but that’s for 3 or 4 games.  We had planned on Vesa being the starter and we expect for him to battle back and take the net back.” ~Brian Burke with Alex Seixeiro, FAN590

There’s a lot of speculation that the Leafs’ GM is inflating Vesa Toskala’s trade value to swing a deal with the Anaheim Ducks for Jean-Sebastien Giguere – a move that could save Anaheim (if the players are dealt straight up) $2-million in salary this season and rid them of the most expensive “back-up” in the league.

We’ll need to sit by and watch how this one plays out but the main fact is that Jonas Gustavsson is better goalie on the Leafs right now and we can trust in Ron Wilson to play the goalie that gives them the best chance to win – which appears to be Gustavsson.  If you need a goalie to get you through a rough patch, Gustavsson could provide you with a legitimate option.

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Matt Bennett is an original DailyFaceoff.com co-Founder. Feel free to reach Bennett directly @bennettdf.
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