Leafs land coveted goalie Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson signed a US$900,000, one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but GM Brian Burke isn’t about to hand the coveted free-agent goaltender a starting job.

Milan Michalek

Milan Michalek

TORONTO — Jonas Gustavsson signed a US$900,000, one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but GM Brian Burke isn’t about to hand the coveted free-agent goaltender a starting job.

Toronto beat out Dallas, San Jose and Colorado, among others, to secure the services of the 24-year-old from Danderyd, Sweden. But Burke said Vesa Toskala remains the Leafs’ starter and Gustavsson will have to beat out the veteran Finn to secure the No. 1 position.

“He’s not coming in trying to unseat a guy who has been here a long time, has a long-term contract and has had a lot of success,” Burke said. “That being said, we were very frank with Jonas that we feel Vesa is going to have a big-time, bounce-back year now that he’s healthy.

“Don’t think you’re going to walk in here and knock this kid out of the net. You’re going to have to do something to do that.”

Toskala appeared in 53 games last season with Toronto, compiling a 22-17 record. He posted a 3.26 goals-against average with one shutout and .891 save percentage.

But he underwent season-ending hip surgery in March and missed Toronto’s final 18 regular-season games. Toskala is entering the final year of his contract with the Leafs and is slated to earn US$4 million.

At worst, Burke figures the six-foot-three, 192-pound Gustavsson will serve as Toronto’s backup goaltender and a solid insurance policy should Toskala suffer injury again.

“He’s a butterfly goaltender that also has superb athletic ability and can make athletic saves,” Burke said.

“He doesn’t make saves, he blocks shots, he gets to the right place, makes himself big and the puck hits him. We think Jonas Gustavsson can do those technically sound things, get in position where a lot of pucks are going to hit him but when he needs to he can make the athletic saves as well.”

Burke also said Tuesday there are teams interested in acquiring Tomas Kaberle. But the Leafs’ GM firmly believes the veteran defenceman will still be in Toronto when the NHL regular season begins.

“There is interest but nothing that requires thinking about,” Burke said. “It’s going to take a tough deal to get Tomas Kaberle out of here.

Kaberle has spent the past 10 seasons in Toronto has is under contract for another two years. He does have a no-trade clause but a window exists where he could be dealt during the off-season.

Gustavsson played for Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League last season, registering four shutouts with a league-leading goals-against average of 1.96 and .932 save percentage in 42 games.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels winger Arshdeep Bains had two assists in the first period Monday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action in Lethbridge. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Hurricanes hand Red Deer Rebels ninth straight loss

Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday) The goals… Continue reading

Red Deer City Hall. (File photo)
Red Deerians will see a slight tax increase, but the municipal portion is at zero per cent

The provincial educational requisition went up by about half a per cent

The length of grass on people’s lawns could be part of the new Community Standards bylaw being considered by Red Deer city council. (Black Press file photo).
Loitering, noise complaints, swearing covered in proposed bylaw

A few old rules could be dropped and new rules added

Sweden skip Niklas Edin makes a shot against Scotland in the Men's World Curling Championship gold medal final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Curling's Humpty's Champions Cup in Calgary has been pushed back a day due to the delayed finish of the men's world championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

People line up in the rain for a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the Masjid Darus Salaam in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Most Read