Since the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Jack Campbell in February of the 2019 – 2020 season, Campbell has been nothing short of spectacular for the Leafs in goal. In a short sample during that season Campbell posted a record of 3-2-1 in the Blue & White with 2.63 GAA and .915 SV%. The Leafs ultimately were eliminated in the play-round of the playoffs with Frederik Andersen as the starter against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The following season was played during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the NHL to re-organize its divisions due to border restrictions making an all-Canadian division. This made Leafs a favourite not only to compete but also to have a deep playoff run. Campbell, known as Soupy by his teammates, was injured in his first game against the Calgary Flames, while Frederik Andersen also battled injuries causing the Leafs to panic. However, upon his return, Campbell would not only set a franchise record by going 10-0 but would also set an NHL record by going 11-0. Campbell would finish the season 17-3-2 with a 2.15 GAA and a .921 SV% with two shutouts.
It appeared the Leafs had a new starting goaltender. In the playoffs, Campbell in seven games would post three wins and 1.81 GAA and a .921 SV% with one shutout. Despite the excellent performance by Campbell during the regular season and in the playoffs, fans around the league critiqued his performance due to the fact it was an all-Canadian division, and Campbell did not have to face teams such as the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Enter the 2021-2022 season. The starting goaltender’s position was Campbell’s to lose after Petr Mrazek was brought in from the Carolina Hurricanes, during the offseason, which sent Frederik Andersen to go the other way. Campbell has shown he is capable of stealing games with phenomenal saves against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames in which the Leafs secured the win in overtime. Throughout this season Campbell boasts a 10-4-1 record with a 1.66 GAA and a .944 SV% with three shutouts for second in the league behind Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames.
The Leafs are expected to have a cap hit of $72,230,616 entering the 2022-2023 season, but will have UFA’s in Jason Spezza, Campbell, and Kiril Semyonov. While Ondrej Kase, Pierre Engvall, Ilya Mikheyev, Joseph Woll, Rasmus Sandin, and Timothy Liljegren will also need new contracts as they will be restricted free agents. This would give the Leafs about $10,300,384 to work with for next season.
With Mrazek’s history of injuries and Joseph Woll not having enough NHL experience. Campbell at the age of 30 has proven what he is capable of and should be a priority for the Leafs to sign this coming offseason.
Signing Campbell, as the starter, should be the start and end of any discussion about who the Leaf’s Number #1 netminder is for the 2022-2023 season.