McLennan wonders if Leafs are trying to make a bigger play for a new backup goalie
The Toronto Maple Leafs placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers Monday afternoon, one day after his winless season continued in a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hutchinson is 0-4-1 on the season for Toronto, with 4.44 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage. His only starts have come on the second half of back-to-back games for the Leafs, while starter Frederik Andersen has carried the rest of the load.
Toronto acquired Hutchinson via trade from the Florida Panthers last December. He appeared in five NHL games for the club last season, posting a 2-3-0 record with .914 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average before joining the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies. Hutchinson produced a 14-7-1 with .910 save percentage and 2.70 GAA in the AHL.
The Leafs brought in Michal Neuvirth on a Professional Tryout to challenge Hutchinson for the backup job in training camp this season, but Neuvirth was ultimately released from his PTO after suffering an unspecified injury, leaving the post in Hutchinson's hands.
The Leafs next play the New York Islanders on Wednesday, and are projected to recall Kasimir Kaskisuo from the Marlies to back up Andersen.
Kaskisuo has never appeared in an NHL game, but told TSN last month he believes he's ready to make the leap.
"There's only one way to find out," the 26-year-old said, "put me in the game. But, yeah, I feel like I'm confident I can play at a high level. The AHL is a good league, but the NHL is a step up. It would be a dream come true and just working toward that every day."
Kaskisuo, 26, has a 6-1-1 record in eight games with the Marlies this season with a .928 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA.