The Toronto Maple Leafs have a good problem to have. They have two potential starting goaltenders going into the 2021 playoffs, Jack Campbell and Frederik Andersen. Andersen has been the starting goaltender for the Leafs for the last 5 seasons and has taken his team to the playoffs every year he has been there. The only issue is Andersen, like the rest of this team, has never been able to get past the first round in those 5 seasons. Andersen has been injured since March 19th with a lower body injury. He has been practicing with the team for just over a week and looks like he could be ready for the playoffs. Before Andersen was injured he was struggling in net for the Leafs this season. So far Andersen is on pace for his worst season as a Leaf with a .897 save percentage and a 2.91 G.A.A.
While Andersen has been injured Jack Campbell has been given a chance to take over the starting job. Jack set an NHL record with the most wins to start a season getting 11 wins without a loss. Campbell has given the Leafs the stable goaltending they need. He has a .927 save percentage and a 2.47 G.A.A. however it’s more than just the way Campbell plays, it’s the type of teammate he is. Whenever Jack makes a save that stops the play he thanks a teammate. When Campbell gets the win the whole team looks so happy for him. Every teammate says he is just a great player to have in the dressing room.
Some people would say it’s a no brainer to start Jack Campbell in the playoffs however, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe does have a hard choice to make. Jack Campbell has never played in a playoff game in his career in the NHL. While he is having a fantastic season there is always a worry the pressure could get to him. Although Andersen has not had a great season this year, the 2020 playoffs were the best he has played with the Leafs. Andersen’s contract also expires this season so he does have something to prove. The Leafs know they have to make it past the first round this year or some major changes will have to happen.
If I was in Sheldon Keefe’s shoes I would go with the hot hand and that is Jack Campbell. The team loves to play in front of him and I feel he has earned the starter job going into the playoffs. However if he has even one bad period I would go back to Frederik Andersen as you know he can play well in the playoffs.
Will Keefe end up going with Campbell? Will Andersen be healthy and ready to go by the playoffs? We will just have to wait over the next 6 games and see what happens.