Forget the two recent losses in the Calder Cup playoffs, Kasimir Kaskisuo has been playing great for the Marlies this season. Just please don’t get your hopes up for him next season to make the Leafs.
AHL and Calder Cup success for a goalie prospect? Who does that sound like, Leaf fans? I’m not saying Kaskisuo and Garret Sparks are one and the same, but I’m also not saying that they aren’t.
Either way, with the Leafs ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in round one, it’s been great watching the Baby Buds succeed in the AHL postseason. One of the heroes not named Bracco, Timashov, Liljegren, or Sandin has been goalie Kaskisuo, without a doubt. But, let’s not get it twisted here, he isn’t the next best goalie in Leafs nation.
That’s where I have him pegged. He and Sparks can duke it out for AHL supremacy and the Aldege Bastien Memorial Award (advantage Sparks). Is it harsh to throw this B-Level trajectory on a thriving 25-year-old player currently succeeding in said league? No.
It’s really not. Criticism allows for truth to be separated from bias, and for Kaskisuo the criticism on him is his physical stature. What do Frederik Andersen, Carey Price, Andriy Vasilevsky, and Pekka Rinne all have in common? When you look at them in net there is no sight of mesh behind them.
Kaskisuo, while 6’2″ is very slight. I guess chalk it up to his style, but he lacks the intimidating look of an elite goalie. Likewise, his crease control and vision will be a stumbling block for his success. By this, I mean that after the first shot, Kaskisuo sells out and gives up position to try and make the next save, rather than reducing rebounds and using edgework to stay in position for second chances.
Next in line
Frederik Andersen has two years left on his deal. The Maple Leafs have some serious questions to answer at that time about the state of the club and who is going to be the starting goalie. I think we’ll see a short term Andersen deal, but if not is it up to Kaskisuo to step up?
Again, no is the answer here. I’d be utterly shocked if Kaskisuo is with the Leafs organization at that time because budding superstar goalie prospects Joseph Woll and Ian Scott will likely be in the AHL and pushing each other for the Maple Leafs throne.
The likes of Sparks and Kaskisuo will probably be afterthoughts once these two top-tier prospects get closer to NHL debuts. Hutchinson, Sparks, Kaskisuo. All three are of the same ilk; close to the top level of play in their position but haven’t shown enough to enter that level of play.
As much as Sparks isn’t anything but a low-cost bench warmer for the Leafs, Kaskisuo is too. Don’t let his Calder Cup 1.96 GAA and .935% save percentage fool you.