Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.

6/09/2006

Tellqvist optioned

Mikael played well last season and was the statistical favorite over incumbent Edward Belfour the Billionth during the regular season(which is to say, the only games the team played). Save for the Montreal melt-down, Tellqvist looked to have graduated to Maple Leaf starting goal-tender, so this move was elementary for team management.

This leaves the Leafs with Tellqvist and J.S. Aubin, late-season hero extraordinaire and almost a TML saint, as the team's only NHL-ready puck stoppers. Which is fine by me. There have been calls to sign a big name free agent goal tender, or to trade some young guns (trade Wellwood and I'll cry) for a big name goal tender who is still under contract. I say 'Nay!' to this course of action. As Duhatschek points out in his blog entry (dated June 1, 2006-I'd link to it, but that doesn't seem possible) in regard to Tampa Bay's signing of two unknown NHL assets to shore up a porous goal-tending brigade,
More than anything else though, the Lightning have clearly been monitoring the NHL playoffs this spring and, based on the changing cast of goaltenders suddenly thrust into the spotlight, concluded that net-minding solutions can — and often do - come from unexpected sources.
I'm glad Eric noted and an NHL team acted upon this new reality. With the new rule enforcement standards, shut-outs are more now than ever a function of team defense rather than goalie heroics, thus reducing the importance of having a Hasek-type door-shutter and emphasizing the need for a more cohesive team in front of the crease.

In other words, one's perception of 'a proven NHL net minder' isn't what it used to be, and that viable options are available outside of the league, and especially in Europe where open ice and less obstruction has been the norm for years.

What all this means is that less team resources should be alloted for goal tending as had been the norm in the past. Good goalies are still a critical element of team success, but the impact they have on the outcome of a game has ebbed.

If next year the team is playing an incredible game and the weak link is obviously in net, a la the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers, then make a move...maybe. Just don't put the cart in front of the horse.

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