When the free-agent goaltending carousel stopped last summer, Marty Turco discovered there was no home for a 36-year-old netminder who posted an .897 save percentage with the Chicago Blackhawks in 29 games.
Since then, he's done some TV analyst work for NHL Network (unpolished, but candid) and has been training and assisting with the Soo Greyhounds' goaltenders — after vowing in September that he wasn't ready to consider his post-NHL life because "I think I can play in this league."
Apparently, the Toronto Maple Leafs agree with him. Mike Brophy at Sportsnet reported on Tuesday that the Leafs have reached out to Turco. This inquiry comes as James Reimer is coming back from a concussion, Jonas Gustavsson is playing like a sieve and rookie Ben Scrivens looks solid one night and like he wishes he were back at Cornell the next.
A few thoughts:
• Turco's skills have eroded, he's clearly a backup and one with a few miles on him at that. He also might be better at his job than any goaltender currently playing for the Leafs. And yeah, that's an indictment of all parties involved.
• The Leafs are 3-3 in November heading into Tuesday night's game with the Phoenix Coyotes; they've scored 15 goals, and given up 23. The goaltending needs to be addressed. Does Turco sufficiently address that? Of course not. But the Leafs also wouldn't have to give up anything to get him besides a roster spot and some beer money (in hockey financial terms). Michael Leighton for the Flyers, buried as he is, would still cost something. Turco's a stop-gap at a time when the Leafs need one.
• Chris Botta said on Marek Vs. Wyshynski today that Garth Snow had been seeking a second-round pick for Evgeni Nabokov, arguably the best veteran goaltender available right now (should he waive his no-move clause). That's an insane asking price, and perhaps the reason a Ron Wilson reunion hasn't happened.
• The immediate reaction on social media from Leafs fans was concern that a Turco signing meant bad things for Reimer's recovery. So James Reimer is out for a significant amount of time, and Marty Turco is the solution? C'mon now. Reimer's on the mend and this move is about insurance and those playing behind him. The Swedish one, not the Ivy Leaguer.
• Finally, the big winners in all this: Fans sitting near the Leafs bench looking for some action during the game. And, frankly, he could post a GAA of 137.00 and still get an eternal pass for doing this (a.k.a. God's work):
- Marty Turco
- James Reimer
- Maple Leafs