Joel Dorcas | December 29th, 2018
The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a minor acquisition by trading away a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Florida Panthers for career back-up goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
The Leafs have been getting serviceable starts from Garret Sparks as he has gone 6-1-1 with a 2.88 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. The real story and perhaps the reason the Leafs made this acquisition is the latest happenings with starting goalie Frederik Andersen. He will be out a second consecutive game with a groin injury and is considered day-to-day. Even without the injury, the Maple Leafs are rather thin at the goalie position. Hutchinson will report to the Leafs AHL farm team, the Toronto Marlies, but a call-up to the big club could happen very soon. The Leafs have called up 25-year-old goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo on an emergency basis, meaning a call-up of Hutchinson should soon be on the horizon. The Leafs have basically cruised their way through the regular season getting stellar goaltending from Andersen. The Leafs give up the 26th most shots against per game in the league at 33.1. Despite the high shot totals, the Leafs have leaned on the great play of Andersen. He currently is 20-9-1 with a 2.50 GAA and a .923 save percentage. It is unknown how long Andersen will be out as news has just started to surface about the ailment.
Hutchinson hopefully can fill in and perhaps outplay current back-up to Andersen, Sparks, and stay with the Maple Leafs. The 28-year-old has been fairly average but serviceable as a backup with a career record of 44-40-13, a 2.70 GAA, and a .907 SV%. His best season was 2014-2015 while Hutchinson started 36 games for the Winnipeg Jets compiling 21 wins and 2.38 GAA along with a .914 SV%. This will be Hutchinson’s third pro organization. Before the trade to Toronto, Hutchinson was third on the Florida Panthers goalie depth chart behind Roberto Luongo and James Reimer. In very limited action with the Panthers this season, he has gone 1-1-2 with a GAA of 4.17 and a save percentage at .839.
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