23-year-old Leafs goaltending prospect Joseph Woll will make his NHL debut tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. The ever-smiling Woll has earned the praise of teammates and coaches alike after being recalled due to an injury to backup Petr Mrazek. During last night’s post-game presser, coach Keefe was asked about the young netminder,
Starter Jack Campbell described him as “a tremendous talent” and “Quickie 2.0”, referencing his old mentor in LA, and Matthews spoke to his great attitude and compete level.
Already coined “ The Brick Woll” by fans, the young goalie will be the first drafted and developed by the Leafs to guard the crease in Toronto since fan favourite James Reimer, who himself broke an atrocious streak of goaltender development. He became Toronto’s first homegrown netminder since FELIX POTVIN!!!! The Leafs seem focused on changing their fortunes in that regard. They have taken a goalie in five of the last six drafts and made a couple of signings out of Europe and the NCAA. With several strong prospects in the net, the buds might become something of a goalie factory sooner rather than later.
It’s been a long and trying road for Woll to get to this point. Since turning pro two seasons ago after a very successful college career that included two World Junior tournaments and saw him finish with a .916 sv% despite playing for some bad teams, the netminder has faced a bevy of injuries. While he has shown flashes of the talent that enticed the Leafs to draft him in the 3rd round in 2016, he hasn’t been able to put together a consistent run of solid play. Standing at 6’4, he has the size to do it; he’s explosive, he’s technically sound. All that remains is putting it all together. Once Mrazek returns from injury, Woll will almost certainly be headed back to the Marlies to do just that, but for now, the kid from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, will get to live out his dream of playing in the NHL.