I really thought Justin Pogge was on his way out. Earlier this month, a Sportsnet report suggested the Justin Pogge era had indeed come to an end here in Toronto. It was time to move on, to get Jonas Gustavsson to compete with Vesa Toskala for the Leafs spot, to make James Reimer a Marlie.
Today it's been reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a qualifying offer to goaltender Justin Pogge.
The move ensures that Pogge remains a restricted free agent after July 1st, allowing the Leafs to match any offer made to Pogge by other clubs. Had the Leafs not extended the offer and failed to sign him to a new contract by Wednesday, Pogge would have become an unrestricted free agent.
Drafted by the Leafs 90th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Pogge has failed to live up to expectations. The Fort McMurray, AB native has spent most of the last few seasons with the Marlies, Toronto's AHL affiliate, and has not impressed in call-ups to the big club. In seven appearances with the Leafs last season, Pogge was 1-4 with a 4.35 goals against average and 0.844 save percentage.
I've never been so happy to be so wrong. I really want Justin Pogge to succeed and I'm glad Burke is giving him another year with the Marlies. I know I'll be there, cheering him on with my kids from the front row.