Desperate times call for desperate measures with the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching. Playoff hopefuls scramble to strengthen their club, while non-playoff teams try to further gouge their players in the market.
There is one team that desperately needs to improve their goaltending situation and that is the Toronto Maple Leafs. A league source told NYI Hockey Now that New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov is on their shortlist.
The 33-year-old goaltender has one year left on his contract with a $5 million cap and has a modified no-trade clause (16 teams).
The Toronto Maple Leafs are without their starting goalie Jack Campbell, who will miss at least two weeks with a rib injury announced by the team last Thursday. Campbell slipped in the second half. He has a .841 SV% over his last five starts with a 4.92 GAA.
Backup Petr Mrazek struggled just as much. Over his last five starts, the 30-year-old boasts a .839 SV% with a 4.45 GAA.
When two goalies struggle like this, defense has to be part of the problem, right?
For a Toronto Maple Leafs team that has been an offensive-first, defensive-second organization, they allowed the 10th-fewest scoring chances against this season (5 of 5), but allowed the eighth-most goals by Natural Stat Tip. The Maple Leafs just aren’t getting saves and their goalie performance is unacceptable.
Maple Leafs and Islanders scouts were on hand for each other’s games last week, with the ball in the court of New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello given his team’s position in the standings and Toronto’s level of desperation.
In a meeting with The Athletics’ Kevin Kurz and Newsday Andrew Gross a few weeks ago, Lou Lamoriello said he believed in the core of his team because it looks like the Islanders might have a calmer trade deadline than people initially thought.
In this league you need two goalies to compete, and if the Islanders can play better in front of both goalies next season, this tandem, no matter who gets the most games (Sorokin), could be one of the best of the NHL as we have seen. in 2019-20.
Taking the human side of the sport into the equation, Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin are best friends and it may make sense for Sorokin’s development to keep Varlamov until his contract expires after the 2022-23 season.
But Toronto desperately needs goaltenders right now. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas likely won’t survive a first-round exit again, and there aren’t many goaltenders in the market.
A first-round pick could do the job for Semyon Varlamov, and Lamoriello should accept nothing less.
Varlamov has played just 19 games this season, going 4-12-1, 0.912 SV% and 2.85 GAA. The Islanders haven’t provided Varlamov with what Islanders head coach Barry Trotz likes to call “running support,” but he’s been solid this season despite the statistical results.
There’s another goalie that Toronto has shown interest in, and that’s a 37-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury, whose contract is about to expire and who has a modified no-trade clause (10 teams). Due to his $7 million cap, the Chicago Blackhawks will have to keep some salary, which means Dubas will have to sweeten the deal with another asset involved.
Marc-Andre Fleury is 19-20-4 with an SV % of 0.908 and an average of 2.92.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a tough spot because even though they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 79 points, they only hold a slim two-point lead over the Boston Bruinswho holds the top wildcard spot with 77 points.
the Washington Capitals are in second place from the joker with 74 points.
Mrazek has been unreliable, and when Campbell returns, the Maple Leafs could plummet in the standings.
While there’s a significant points disparity between the second wildcard Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets (63 points), the last thing Toronto wants is to be the eighth seed to enter the playoffs. , with the amount of talent in the East.
So, predictably, Toronto wants to get a deal done quickly. But for the New York Islanders, especially the New York Islanders, there is no rush, and to get the maximum for Semyon Varlamov, waiting until March 21, when the teams are most desperate, makes more sense for them.
Welcome to your new home for the latest New York Islanders news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our member-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now Network.