For the third consecutive season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the running for a European goaltender. This year, they are one of the two front-runners (the other the San Jose Sharks) for Djugarden (of the SEL) standout rookie goaltender, Mark Owuya.
Owuya, only 21 years of age, had an outstanding season after stealing the starting reigns early in the year. In a full-time starter’s role, he responded very well, posting a 2.18 GAA and .927 SP. For comparison’s sake, current Maple Leafs puck-stoppers Jonas Gustavsson and Jussi Rynnas posted lines of 1.97/.932 and 2.46/.907 in their contract years.
One thing that could shy Owuya away from signing in Toronto is that he would be adding to the overwhelming amount of depth Toronto has at the position.
With the tandems of James Reimer/Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens/Jussi Rynnas set for the Leafs and Toronto Marlies next year, Owuya would be in tough for playing time with the top two clubs, most likely getting most of his ice time in the ECHL with the Royals.
However, this could prove to be a non-factor as numerous European free agent goalies haven’t had a problem signing down the depth charts in the past. You can look at the Antti Niemi, Rynnas, and perhaps even Gustavsson (even though he had more job security than the others) signings for reassurance he could sign, no matter the situation in the crease.
For a little about of a scouting report on Owuya, he has drawn some comparisons to Tim Thomas.
Despite being tall at 6’2, he can be more of a flopper than more of a technical stand-up or butterfly goalie most are at his height. Nonetheless, despite his lack of technicality, he does possesses tremendous work ethic and a confident demeanor on and off the ice, things that often can not be taught to young, aspiring goaltenders, whereas the technicality of the position often can. He can also cover the bottom of the net very well, despite his lack of an orthodox style of play.
Contract discussions are still in the preliminary rounds, and nothing will be confirmed most likely until after the playoffs unless Toronto or another non-playoff team signs him.