🖋️ We’ve signed Aaron Dell to a one-year contract. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 14, 2020
Maple Leafs Sign Goaltender Aaron Dell
Over Dell’s four-year career, he has played as the backup goaltender for the San Jose Sharks. Dell once formed an unstoppable tandem with Martin Jones, although both goalies have fallen off since. Dell’s posted a .908 save percentage in his four years with the Sharks, which is respectable for a backup goalie. Despite his stellar play in the 2016–17 season, Dell hasn’t been a good goalie the past two seasons. He had a dreadful 2018–19, where he had a .886 save percentage and a -14.75 GSAA (goals saved above average). This shows that even though the Sharks were playing good defence in front of him, he wasn’t making the easy saves he should’ve. Dell had a better 2019–20 season, where his save percentage rose to .907 on a bad Sharks team. Dell even took the starting role for a little bit before Jones returned to his starting form.
Dell is currently 32 years old, so he still has some good seasons left in him. His first NHL season came when he was 27 years old, so he hasn’t played too many NHL games yet. This will let Dell maintain his NHL-level performance later than most backups. Dell will also rebound from his poor performance the past two seasons, as he was playing behind an old, abysmal Sharks defence.
What Dell Brings to the Maple Leafs
Dell brings a steady backup presence to the Frederik Andersen. The Maple Leafs can put Dell in whenever they need to and can rely on the fact that he’ll put up respectable numbers. They can give Dell a start in back-to-backs, which would take some of the load off of starting goalie Andersen. While Dell is small for the NHL at just 6′-0″, he takes up the bottom portion of the net with his solid positioning and form. Dell is a smart signing for the Maple Leafs as he will bring the backup goalie presence that they needed. It will be interesting how the Maple Leafs handle Dell and Jack Campbell going forward. And who will be the backup for Andersen?