It’s no secret the Toronto Maple Leafs could use another option for a backup goaltender. Michael Hutchinson (3-7-1, .885 save percentage, 3.83 goals-allowed average) has underperformed behind Frederik Andersen through the first half of the season, leaving general manager Kyle Dubas with an apparent desire to make some changes at the position.
The potential answer? According to the Athletic’s James Mirtle, the Leafs have spoken with the Rangers multiple times this season about 23-year-old Alexandar Georgiev.
An undrafted free agent out of Bulgaria, Georgiev has put up solid numbers in small stints with the Rangers since he signed during the 2017-18 season. Over 65 games played, the netminder has compiled a 30-26-6 record, amassing a .914 career save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average along the way. This, according to Mirtle, has put Georgiev’s name on the radar around the league and made him part of a precarious goaltending situation in New York.
Longtime starter and franchise icon Henrik Lundqvist has one more season remaining on his contract. The club’s top goaltending prospect, Igor Shesterkin, seems primed to take over as a starter when the move away from Lundqvist does happen, leaving Georgiev the odd man out for at least another year — far too long to juggle three goalies on an NHL roster.
The Rangers reportedly want an NHL-ready player in return for Georgiev, though, which Mirtle imagines could wind up being Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnson or Alexander Kerfoot. TSN’s Darren Dreger weighed in on Twitter to suggest that not even Kapanen, who ranks fifth on Toronto in overall scoring (10 goals, 18 assists) would sway Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton enough to make a move now.
Toronto seeks a backup goaltender, of course; not a replacement for starter Frederik Andersen (22-8-6, .912 save percentage, 2.80 goals-against average). This reportedly makes the team unlikely to move valuable young pieces now for a netminder who won’t necessarily play often the rest of this season.
Still, the Maple Leafs have their own decision to make at goaltender when Andersen’s contract expires after next season. Some healthy competition in net entering 2020-21 certainly couldn’t hurt.
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