The Toronto Maple Leafs continued to add to their organizational depth on Friday, as they announced the re-signing of goaltender Michael Hutchinson to a two-year, $1.45 million contract ($725,000 AAV).
The 30-year-old split time between the Leafs, their AHL affiliate and the Colorado Avalanche last season. Hutchinson had a 5-9-1 record, posting a 3.47 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage. Hutchinson struggled with Toronto but was as much a victim of the Leafs porous defense, and that forced GM Kyle Dubas to trade with Los Angeles for Jack Campbell last February.
The Barrie, ON native was traded before the deadline to Colorado for defenseman Calle Rosen and was pressed into service in the playoffs after both Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz were injured. In four appearances for the Avalanche during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was 2-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
This move appears to be clearly aimed at meeting the minimum requirements for the upcoming Seattle expansion draft next summer. Each club has to expose two forwards and one blueliner who played at least 70 games between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons or 40 games in the upcoming campaign, as well as a goaltender under contract or an RFA after the season.
The Leafs now have six goaltenders under contract, but for the expansion draft prospects Ian Scott and Joseph Woll are exempt and Frederik Andersen and Aaron Dell are unrestricted free agents. Had the Leafs not re-signed Hutchinson, they would have been forced to expose Campbell to Seattle, now they can protect Campbell and expose Hutchinson.
Listen to the Off the Post podcast with JD Burke of EP Rinkside, who takes a closer look at the Leafs 2020 Draft
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