Just 24 hours after having signed both Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Saturday afternoon that they have agreed to terms to a one-year deal with veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson. According to CapFriendly, it’s a one-year deal that will pay him a total base salary of $700k. The deal is one-way so his salary will stay the same when playing in games at both levels. That means it’s likely the Maple Leafs don’t fully expect him to be in the AHL for the majority of the season.
Hutchinson was expected to become an unrestricted free agent on the first of July and was coming off of a deal that was paying him $1.3 million. That being said, the 29-year-old took less than half of the money he earned off his previous deal. Lots of people expected the Maple Leafs to use the free agent market to search for a backup goaltender to replace Garret Sparks.
It seems that search is probably not as necessary now. If the Leafs find a goaltender for better value who’ll do a better job, you’ll probably see Hutchinson shipped out, but for now though, Michael Hutchinson is your 2019-2020 Maple Leafs backup goaltender.
I don’t know man, goalies are voodoo. I’m almost always wrong with my goalie predictions so I’m not going to go near that. I will point out that Hutchinson has had a pretty high peak in his career.
He had three seasons where he split the net with Connor Hellebuyck and/or Ondrej Pavelec and did pretty well. I mean, I had the guy on my fantasy hockey team. He’s been a third stringer since then, but it’s still pretty nice to remember why he’s in this organization too.
He played five games in a stretch where the Leafs had to panic and find a goaltender as soon as possible and they didn’t want to use any of their younger AHL guys and have them blown up in the NHL. Rather than being blown up himself, he kind of saved his own season by doing well in those games and doing well with the Marlies too. His playoffs with the Marlies leaves a bit of worry, but here’s hoping he does well.