Source: Gunning for the backup job, Maple Leafs goalie Garret Sparks allowed five goals in playing the full 60 minutes as a Toronto roster that looked more like the Toronto Marlies dropped a 5-1 decision to the Laval Rocket, oops, make that the Montreal Canadiens.
The Leafs had won their first four games while putting out a team comprised of at least half NHLers, with John Tavares and Auston Matthews starring in alternating games.
But Monday night, if the announced crowd of 18,843 was hoping to see a big name at the Scotiabank Arena, they were woefully disappointed. Connor Carrick and his $1.3 million (U.S.) salary made him the highest-paid Leaf to suit up against the Habs.
The total Leaf salary of those who suited up was just over $15 million while Montreal’s was at about $20 million, far off the salary cap of $79.5 million. The biggest name on Montreal’s side — top draft pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi (one assist, plus-3) — put on a pretty good show.
But otherwise it was a game for both coaching staffs to see what lesser lights could do with bigger minutes.
Kasperi Kapanen got the Leaf goal 4-on-4, but his line with Andreas Johnsson and Par Lindholm seemed to be outplayed when Montreal countered with Matthew Peca between Charles Hudon (one goals) and Artturi Lehkonen (two goals). Montreal defenceman Xavier Ouellet also had two goals.
Back to Garret Sparks.
The best goalie outside of the NHL last year was given all the opportunity in the world to win a job this season, and after last night, it’s become easier to conclude the direction of the Maple Leafs.
Garret Sparks will be traded.
As Sparks is on a one-way deal, and with the consistency, the character, and the experience of Curtis Mac’, it makes all the sense in the world to keep the tandem of Freddie and Curtis Mac rolling into this season. It also makes all the sense in the world that Sparks won’t clear waivers.
Think about it….how can the NHL take itself seriously, if you have the ‘best developmental league in the world’ and take out the best goalie from last season, and offer him up free to everyone in the league, and they all pass?
No chance. Bettman would shit.
The only shitty part is Sparks is only 25 and Mac is 35, however, with Freddie and Calvin Pickard still in the system, the Leafs afford to deal Sparks.
Expect Sparks to be dealt by next Wednesday.
And, with the way Andreas Borgman played last night, there is zero chance he makes the big club, so perhaps, himself or Connor Carrick could be packaged with Sparks for a mid-round pick and a young prospect who is looking for a chance to crack a lineup.
Enjoy this highlight Habs fans, there won’t be much to cheer about this season, especially when the Habs play the Maple Leafs, and not the Marlies like Monday night.