Tuukka Rask

Toronto’s goaltending situation has us thinking about the one that got away


Would the Toronto Maple Leafs be in a completely different position than they are today if they hadn’t traded Tuukka Rask?

Maybe Leafs fans ask this question all the time. My apologies if that’s the case. I just feel like it gets overlooked by the rest of us, especially compared to the Phil Kessel trade.

For those that need a refresher, Toronto drafted Rask 21st overall in 2005. However, the Leafs already had a young goalie by the name of Justin Pogge in the system. At the 2006 World Junior Championships, Pogge was brilliant in leading Canada to a gold medal. Later he was named the CHL Goaltender of the Year.

When Pogge was deemed the goalie of the future in Toronto, Rask became expendable. In the summer of 2006, Rask was traded to Boston for Andrew Raycroft, the 2004 Calder Trophy winner. This despite the fact Raycroft was coming off a horrendous 2005-06 season.

Long story short, Raycroft was a bust in Toronto, John Ferguson Jr. was fired as GM, Brian Burke was hired, Pogge’s currently playing for the AHL’s Portland Pirates, and Rask would be Boston’s starter if not for Tim Thomas.

Since trading Rask, the following goalies have tried their luck with the Leafs: Raycroft, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Mikael Tellqvist, Vesa Toskala, Scott Clemmensen, Martin Gerber, Curtis Joseph, Pogge, Jonas Gustavsson, Joey MacDonald and James Reimer.

Since trading Rask, the Leafs haven’t made the playoffs.

True, they’ve had other problems besides goaltending. But a team can get by with deficiencies in certain areas; it doesn’t have a chance without goaltending.

Maybe Reimer’s the goalie they’ve been waiting for in Toronto, although it’s impossible to say for sure after just 43 games.

It’s also impossible to say if Rask would’ve succeeded with the Leafs, but you can’t help but wonder.

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.