NHL Free Agency 2012: Is Dominik Hasek an Option for the Leafs Goaltending Woes?

John B Matheson@@JB_WebberCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2012

DALLAS - MAY 19:  Goaltender Dominik Hasek #39 of the Detroit Red Wings walks off the ice before play against the Dallas Stars during game six of the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 19, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The asking price for Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo is high, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis is not willing to budge on it, as reported by the National Post back in June. 

There are few top-tier veteran goaltenders for Toronto to look at, and most will remain with their respective teams unless a huge deal is reached.

It was reported that part of a potential deal for Luongo included Jake Gardiner, who ended up as a surprise on the blueline.

An article by the Toronto Sun reported GM Brian Burke saying Gardiner was not going anywhere.

This could be a large stumbling block if Toronto is actively looking to trade for Luongo, as Gillis sees the 33-year old veteran as high-end player.

A big issue with the Maple Leafs trading for Luongo is his contract; there are 10 years remaining with a cap hit of $5.33 million.

If Burke truly believes that Reimer and Scrivens are the future in net, acquiring a long-term high cap hit deal makes little sense.

It also makes little to no sense to trade away for another young goaltender, like the Kings' Bernier. Burke already has two young goalies that have a strong future in the NHL.

Rather than placing the two young goaltenders in the wings for the foreseeable future behind Luongo, why not look to another veteran goaltender looking to make a comeback.

It may be a long shot, but one of the best goaltenders of recent years has announced he would like to return to the NHL.

Dominik Hasek has been in talks with a few teams already this offseason.

It was reported by The Buffalo News that The Dominator had been in contact with one of his old teams, the Buffalo Sabres, who turned down Hasek’s bid to return.

At 47, he would become the oldest player in the game. With other players in their early 40’s still playing, it could become a reality.

At 45 Hasek played in the KHL with Spartak Moscow, where he had a record of 23-19-0, showing he is still capable.

He may be past his days as the greatest starting goalie in the NHL, but he could realistically play the backup role.

Toronto has two young goalies who could use some tutelage from a bona fide veteran goaltender. The six-time Vezina winner could be that mentor.

Hasek plays his own style in net, while both Reimer and Scrivens play a hybrid style. The two could still find benefit to playing and learning from the future Hall of Famer.

Due to his age and the fact that he did not play last season, Toronto should be able to offer Hasek a one or two-year deal in the range of $1-$2 million.

It really is a long shot, but it would keep Toronto from trading away a large portion of its prospects and young talent that any trade would require.

Hasek would be cheap, even if he is not at the level of an NHL starter any more. Playing backup to the future goalie for Toronto could be a smart move.

With more awards than he can shake his goalie stick at, Hasek’s presence on any young team would be invaluable.

Having won two Stanley Cups, both with Detroit, and taking Buffalo to the finals in 1999, Hasek has a lot of postseason experience.

The Czech goaltender has a career .925 save percentage and 2.02 goals against in the postseason during his tenure in the NHL.

As long as the deal is not expensive and not long-term, bringing Hasek back to the NHL for one or two more seasons could help the Leafs make the postseason.

It could also aide the development of their future starters.

Though if Dominik Hasek is looking for a deal similar to Brodeur's $9 million or Jagr's $4.55 million, then the Leafs should pass and keep looking.


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