Maple Leafs in market for veteran netminder

When the Maple Leafs embark on their annual quest for a better on-ice product, they’ll be attempting to solve an age-old problem with a man of a certain age.

Acquiring a proven veteran goaltender ranks among the club’s biggest off-season priorities. That means there will be internal debates about no end of possibilities, be it a trade for Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, or a free-agent signing of one of the handful of seasoned NHLers expected to be available this summer.

Leafs executive Dave Nonis was asked this week if the Leafs might even consider the services of Dominik Hasek, the one-time dominator who has announced his contemplation of an NHL comeback at age 47.

“I think we’re looking for a veteran — I don’t know if we’re looking for that much of a veteran,” quipped Nonis, Toronto’s senior vice president of hockey operations.

Still, while Leafs GM Brian Burke has espoused his belief in the talent of James (Real Deal) Reimer — and while the club has been delighted with the performance of Ben Scrivens, who has backstopped the AHL Marlies to the Calder Cup final — it’s expected that both Reimer, 24, and Scrivens, 25, will face bigger-named competition for NHL starts come training camp.

Adding Luongo, on one hand, could be extrapolated as a typical Toronto blunder. He has 10 years and some $47 million left on a contract that runs past his 43rd birthday. Still, there are those who consider Luongo one of the top 10 goaltenders in the league — an attractive asset when you don’t currently have a top-30 type on your roster. And surely the Leafs could handle the deal, even if it would offend Burke’s philosophical aversion to back-loaded agreements, not to mention risk adding to the club’s already extensive collection of overpaid underperformers.–feschuk-maple-leafs-in-market-for-veteran-netminder