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Battle of the Backup: Michael Hutchinson

September 6, 2019, 10:05 AM ET [53 Comments]
Lucas Neilson
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As the Leafs prepare for the season they will have a number of backup goalies fighting for the job or at least to give the coaching staff a showing of their progress.

Hutchinson is my pick and I think he’s going to win the job. He’s up against Joseph Woll who is nursing a broken finger, Kasimir Kaskisuo and Ian Scott. The Leafs had also added Michal Neuvirth to a PTO (professional tryout) to see how he fares.

I have hopes for Woll to continue to progress and build on his game. His day will come, but for now, 29 year old Hutchinson has the best shot to not only secure the backup position but to help the Leafs secure more points when Andersen needs a rest. It’s crucial the Leafs give Freddie lots of rest, especially leading up to playoffs at the end of the season. We need a fresh but yet active Andersen with some reliable help behind him when called upon.

My favorite line from “Hutch” was directed towards the Leafs adding Neuvirth; “When they signed him (Neuvirth) I really didn’t think much of it”. I love it. At this point in his career I think it’s safe to say Hutchinson will be a backup goalie and nothing more. What I’m hoping is he’s the helpful hand that is there to help Andersen feel more comfortable and to have both goalies (as weird as they always are) feeling like they have a good partnership on and off the ice.

Chemistry and comradery between the starter and his backup is something you want to establish. Look at last year, you think that Sparks fit in well? Coming off a winning season in the AHL in the Leafs system with the Toronto Marlies you would have though Garret would have been a great fit. Not so much.

I’m banking heavily on Hutchinson who went 2-3 with the Leafs last year posting some decent number with a .914 save % and 2.64 goals against. A relaxed and comfortable Hutchinson against some of the weaker opponents should be able to build off those stats and put up some quality numbers with the Maple Leafs.

Keep an eye on Hutchinson in camp/pre season and see what you think, he could help at some stability between the pipes in the backup role. Hopefully Freddie has no injuries to deal with this season but if he were to miss a few games I would feel more comfortable with Hutch in the blue paint over Sparks.

Let’s see what he has to offer.

Who do you think will be the Leafs backup to start the 2019/20 season?

note: shout out to Bianca Andreescu on advancing to the US open finals in Tennis (Mississauga born)

Thanks for reading, have a great day.
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