NHL Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s early, but the Leafs may really have something here…

The Leafs acquisition of Jack Campbell was needed and the new goalie has gotten off to a strong and massively important start for the Leafs so far.

The sample size is small, but the Leafs’ acquisition of Jack Campbell to solve their backup goalie issue may already be a home run and could be a grand slam in the future.

We all knew the Leafs would need an upgrade on the backup goalie this season, despite Michael Hutchinson’s brief revival under Sheldon Keefe. Was Hutchinson really playing better with a new coach, or is it more likely that the team was playing on their own strengths, shoring up team-play, opposed to playing in a system that didn’t work?

I would guess the latter, which means that Jack Campbell was walking into a better system than Hutchinson did when he joined the Leafs. Regardless, Campbell is proving through three games that he has the ability to give a save when the team needs it, and will the Leafs to at least a point.

Stats wise, it’s a solid start for Campbell. In his three games with the Leafs, his GAA is 2.52 and he’s posted a save percentage of .918%. These are both improvements on his stats from his 20 games played for the Kings – 2.85 GAA, .900 sv%. For reference, league average GAA and sv% are 2.83 and .909% this season.

The most important stat, though? The 2-0-1 record he’s posted – all games going into overtime with two wins secured. The overtime loss came at the hands of Toronto’s poor defensive play, and if you’ve watched any of the Leafs overtime performances this season it’s an understatement to say they gamble and hang their goalie out to dry pretty regularly.

With his contract at $1.2m for two more seasons after 2019/20, Campbell, 27, could be a massive asset to the Leafs as tough decisions loom on two “A” goalie prospects in Joseph Woll and Ian Scott, and more importantly with the contract of Frederik Andersen expiring after the 2020/2021 season.

At the worst, Campbell provides the Leafs with contract term and value, stability in his play, youth (for a goalie), and team chemistry, as all reports would suggest. He’s young, hungry, and able to step in to take starting minutes should Andersen need time off. It’s early, yes, but the Leafs may really have something with Jack Campbell.

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