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Do the Toronto Maple Leafs have Stanley Cup caliber goaltending?

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By Neil Becker


Heading towards the March 21st. NHL trade deadline, the million-dollar question is should Leafs Nation be concerned about their number one goalie Jack Campbell?

Campbell was a little-known backup who on February 5, 2020, was part of a multi-player deal that sent him to the Leafs where over time, he would play his way into the number one goaltending position.

Arguably the best moment of Campbell’s Leaf career came on April 10, 2021, when the man affectionately called ‘Soupy’ was all smiles after starting the season with a league-record 11 straight wins, with the eleventh coming in a 6-5 decision against the Ottawa Senators.

Campbell, who was originally selected by the Dallas Stars, 11th overall in the 2010 Entry Draft, last season posted a 17-3-2 record with 2 shutouts and 2.15 GAA.
This season, Campbell got off to a solid first-half start and on January 13th, was selected to participate in the 2022 NHL All-Star Game.
Not long after being included on the Atlantic Division Roster, Campbell had a bad four-game stretch where he surrendered 16 goals. He was also pulled during the Leafs 6-4 win against the New Jersey Devils.
Most recently, ‘Soupy’s’ play has come under some scrutiny by Leafs media. While Toronto has some world-class offensive talent, a concern has to be in net where since December 1, 2021, they have ranked 30th in five on five save percentage. Since the calendar turned to 2022, Campbell has surrendered 3 or more goals in nine of those 14 starts.
Despite the inconsistency, Campbell still has an impressive 23-8-3 record this year with a 2.55 GAA along with 4 shutouts.

Still, when you think of Stanley Cup contenders, you think of teams with consistent elite goaltending. Teams such as the defending Stanley Cup champions who have all-star Andrei Vasilevskiy, Carolina Hurricanes who have the consistent Frederick Andersen, or the Calgary Flames who have Jacob Markstrom.

It’s no secret that to be an elite starter, one must be strong mentally, especially in the playoffs.

Campbell as all Leafs fans known has a tendency to beat himself up for his mistakes and has trouble forgetting about bad outings. Personally, I don’t think that’s a good recipe for a goalie on a Stanley Cup caliber team to have.

His latest bout of inconsistency came on Saturday night when he surrendered five goals and was eventually pulled in the third of a wild 10-7 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

I do hope that Campbell can rebound and be that re-capture that first-half magic. He has had to work for everything he has earned and I would love to see nothing better than him lead the Leafs to a deep Stanley Cup run. Realistically, I just don’t know if that’s going to happen. Only time will tell.  



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