If the Toronto Maple Leafs want to maximize their salary-cap next season, they should name Joseph Woll their starting goaltender .
The 24-year-old only has 15 career starts with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but as shown by his play during in the playoffs, he’s ready to make the leap to starter.
If the Leafs did nothing with their goaltending next season and went with Matt Murray and Woll, they’d be tied up for roughly $5.4M in goaltending expenses next year. That’s a incredibly low price to pay for starting goaltending, but that could become even cheaper if the team decides to move on from Murray or buries his contract on LTIR.
Drafted 62nd overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Woll will be 25 years old when the 2023-24 season starts. That’s right about the age when goaltender’s realistically start making the leap to the NHL, so giving Woll an opportunity shouldn’t be a crazy thought.
I know that his sample-size is small but the moment didn’t get to him, when he never should have played a playoff game.
Despite being thrown in a very tough situation, Woll did his job and was definitely not the reason why the Leafs lost Game 3 or Game 5. In fact, he could have been the only reason why they won Game 4, as he was brilliant in that do-or-die game.
Toronto Maple Leafs Should Name Woll Their Starting Goaltender
Woll is under contract until the end of the 2024-25 season and is only making $766,667. If he can become your starting goaltender, that will give the team a huge advantage over the rest of the NHL.
To compare this to other leagues, this is the exact same as NFL teams capitalizing when their starting quarterback is on a rookie contract. For example, Jalen Hurts made $1.6M during the 2022 season but played like a player who should be making $50M per season, as he was a top candidate for the MVP and led his team to a Super Bowl.
Hurts just signed a monster five-year extension worth $255M, which will pay him an average of $51M per season, so his cap-hit will eventually affect the Eagles, but for now, he gives his team a huge advantage by having a small cap-hit for another season.
I’m not saying that Woll is going to be a Vezina Trophy or Hart Trophy candidate next season, but the same logic applies.
If Toronto can get above-average goaltending from him for the league minimum, it gives them a huge opportunity to spend money on other positions to help him. With Hurts under contract for essentially league minimum, the Eagles were able to stack their offensive and defensive-line’s and were able to add weapon’s around him who made the team one of the best in the league.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can do the same by adding a top-pairing defenseman, potentially re-signing Ryan O’Reilly or adding a veteran back-up goalie around him like Jonathan Quick, for example, to help Woll and essentially stack the team as much as possible.
The goaltender position is arguably the most important in hockey so if Woll can emerge as the starter for the next two seasons, it would give this team a huge advantage over the rest of the NHL.