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The Toronto Maple Leafs are shaking things up in the crease. Sort of.
The team has parted ways with goalie coach Steve Briere after seven seasons, NHL insider Chris Johnston reported on Thursday. Toronto decided not to extend a new contract offer to Briere, whose current deal was set to expire on June 30.
The team "intends to conduct a full search for Briere's replacement while also doing an analysis of its goaltending department," Johnston added.
Starting goaltender Jack Campbell, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, came out of the gate sizzling hot in 2021-22, posting a .939 save percentage though Jan. 5 (25 games) — riding career-best numbers to his first All-Star Game nod.
Campbell fizzled out after the break and missed time due to a rib injury before regaining decent form down the stretch and through the seven-game set with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs. Campbell was the second goalie who went to the All-Star Game under Briere — Frederik Andersen in 2020 being the other.
As Johnson noted, Toronto's netminders, who have dealt with more than a few injuries over this time, have been pretty mediocre overall under Briere the past three seasons, failing to reach the top 15 in save percentage once over that span.
The coaching aspect of the position now becomes as uncertain as the position itself, as Campbell could leave as a free agent this July if the right deal comes along — which it very well could.
The rest of the Maple Leafs goalie depth chart is nothing to be excited about, either. The oft-injured Petr Mrazek is under contract at a $3.8 million AAV for two more seasons, while Erik Kallgren, Joseph Woll, and Michael Hutchinson currently round out Toronto's crease cast.
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