Summer Skate: Toronto Maple Leafs

Top-tier netminder remains a major need in Toronto

Updated: September 12, 2012, 1:38 PM ET
By Matthew Coller and Craig Custance |
Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider
Ben ScrivensBruce Bennet/Getty ImagesCan Ben Scrivens fill the Leafs' crease?

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- Toronto Maple Leafs

After a solid first half, the Leafs went on a brutal slide down the stretch to finish 13th in the Eastern Conference. A lack of scoring and puck possession skill outside of the top line and horrible goaltending eventually caught up with them.

At least one of those shortcomings should be resolved this year. Secondary scoring will undoubtedly improve with the addition of ex-Flyer James van Riemsdyk as well as several NHL-ready prospects who were a part of last year's AHL runner-up Toronto Marlies club. The Marlies featured young forwards Nazem Kadri, Carter Ashton and Joe Colborne, who are all top-six talents and each could make an impact this season.

The goaltending issue, however, has inexplicably not been addressed. The reality is, with their lack of focus on possession and mediocre top-four defensive talent, the Leafs need an elite goaltender and, at the moment, they aren't close to having one.

Trending up: F James van Riemsdyk
Last season: 4.3 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 6.1


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