Move over Mitch Marner, Michael Hutchinson is the talk of #LeafsNation right now.
Well, at least for the time being.
The 29-year-old goaltender signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth $700,000 on Thursday night, according to CapFriendly on Thursday.
The team made the news official via their official Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.
.@SportChek Player Alert: The @MapleLeafs have signed goaltender Michael Hutchinson and defenceman Martin Marincin to one-year contracts.— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 29, 2019
Details >> https://t.co/7znjsLbRH5#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/ADOY5xFTsP
Hutchinson is coming off an interesting 2018-19 campaign. After starting the season with the Florida Panthers, he was traded to the Leafs for a fifth-round pick on December 29th, 2018. Less than a week later, he was called up from the AHL on an emergency basis while Frederik Andersen and Garret Sparks — Toronto’s primary netminders — battled injuries.
In his five starts in early January with Toronto, Hutchinson posted a 2-3-0 record with a 2.64 GAA and .914 SV%. And although the sample size of his work with the team in the NHL was small, he did prove to be a steady, calming influence between the pipes (for teammates and fans alike).
The native of Barrie, Ontario, has played in 111 NHL regular season games over parts of six seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Panthers and Maple Leafs. He owns a solid 2.70 GAA and .908 SV% over his career.
His combination of experience and recent strong play — he went 14-7-1 with a 2.70 GAA and .910 SV% with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL last season — will definitely make the Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation a little more interesting.
While there’s no doubt that Andersen is the team’s starter, Sparks had a 2018-19 to forget. The 25-year-old went 8-9-1 with a nasty 3.15 GAA and .902 SV% during the regular season. His play resulted in his squad losing faith in him down the stretch and, to make matters worse, he called out his teammates for their lack of “emotion” in March.
Is Hutchinson going to replace him, though? Only time will tell.
However, there’s no doubting that Sparks didn’t do himself any favours with his play and actions as of late.
The AHL’s top goaltender for the 2017-18 season is currently signed to a one-year deal worth $750,000 that he inked back in March.
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