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

Nov 10, 2011, 2:06 PM EST

Tuukka Rask Getty Images

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.

  1. lameasish - Nov 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Do u hate the leafs that much?, u sound like a baby, give it a rest, there are tons of teams that “let one get away”, if it wasn’t for the football talk I would delete this app, ur a joke, I can’t even type properly to u, that’s how much of a joke u are

    • govtminion - Nov 10, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      …no, you apparently can’t. Nice lolcat imitation though. “I can haz no point to my rantz kthxbai!”

      Anyway.

      As to Rask… honestly, had he stayed in Toronto, would things have gone well? Probably not. First off, if he hadn’t been traded to Boston, Ferguson didn’t really seem like he was averse to bad deals- I’d bet Rask would be wearing someone elses’ jersey anyway through some piss-poor trade or other.

      But, assuming he wears a leaf on his sweater- then what? Porous defense (only now improving), no offense, bad penalties… goalies tend to take the fall when things aren’t going well for a team. It doesn’t even have to be a goaltending issue alone per se, if a team plays poorly for a stretch the goalie gets heat on him (see: Luongo, Roberto). That team could have had Patrick Roy in net and I’m not sure it would have been enough to get into the playoffs.

      By using Rask, they likely would have set his development back and not gotten anywhere. Instead, he’s in Boston waiting to take the reigns of a very good hockey club- and showing a fresh Stanley Cup ring- and Toronto will at some point have James Reimer back, who has shown nothing but brilliance so far prior to getting hurt. All in all, it seems to have worked out for everyone in the long run.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Don’t even mention this. That is possibly the worst trade of the decade for the Leafs, and that obviously includes the Kessel trade. At least we got something in that deal. We got a piece of Swiss cheese and a bunch of losses in exchange for Rask

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Also, you mention Pogge was solid for Canada in the WJC but leave out the part about Rask being named best goalie of the tourny

  4. lameasish - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    I’m glad minion feels better about himself now, get a life, I’m guessing u got beat up as a kid

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM

      Get outta here with your incoherent trollish rantings and take your own advice about getting a life

  5. lameasish - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Without me, there would be no comments, u can clearly read them, idiot. Nice name…

  6. danphipps01 - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    As long as plus/minus is a stat we care about in hockey, perhaps it’s one we should care about in post scores as well. In which event… wow. Lameasish, you’re setting records.

    Anyway. Rask. Govtminion and mrmojorisin both have the truth of it – the deal was awful, gave Boston their future starter and Toronto jack shit, but Rask was going nowhere on what was then a godawful club anyway. He could not have had his spectacular rookie season in a Leafs’ jersey. Hell, until this season he probably couldn’t have managed an AVERAGE one. Goalies are a product of their defensive coverage as much as their own skill and can’t make a thoroughly uninspiring team go far on their own (unless it’s Patrick Roy in the eighties, but that’s beside the point). Rask’s name wouldn’t be nearly as big as it is if he had suffered in Toronto the whole time. They lost nothing they were going to make work if they had kept him.

    Still a terrible, terrible, terrible deal.

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