You might say the second game of back-to-backs has been the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ arch nemesis this season.
Even Frederik Andersen couldn’t save them in Toronto’s most recent two-games-in-two-days stretch, starting both halves for the first time since 2017. The Leafs still haven’t won the second game of these back-to-back situations yet this season.
Outside of Wednesday’s game against Colorado, this has entirely fallen on the backups. Michael Hutchinson is 0-5-1 with an .876 save percentage, while Kasimir Kaskisuo’s lone start resulted in a 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh. It’s no secret this is Toronto’s primary weakness right now, not only because of the hole it puts the team in for the back-to-backs, but also because the play from the backups so far inspires no confidence at all they can be trusted for other starts just to give Andersen a rest.
The Leafs can’t go on like this. Andersen can’t be leaned on to play in the neighbourhood of 65 games and carry the team through four playoff rounds.
The Maple Leafs must be in the market for a backup goalie and, at this point, may have to pay a premium to do it.
“It’s beyond price. You’re going to have to overpay. And I would do that — and if Kyle does that I will not criticize him,” Brian Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show. “If he has to give up a second-round pick or a good kid to solve this issue… because this is their Achilles heel. This is a fatal flaw for this team making the playoffs, if they don’t address this.”