McElhinney was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes and Pickard by the Philadelphia Flyers a day after they were placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs, who are going with Garret Sparks as the backup to No. 1 Frederik Andersen.
“Good for Mac. Good for Pick. Too bad for our depth,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said to open his scrum at Tuesday’s skate.
Toronto claimed McElhinney off waivers from Columbus in the 2016-17 season. He had a 6-7-0 record over 14 games with Toronto that season, with a 2.85 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and a shutout.
The 35-year-old only appeared in 18 games last season as Anderson’s backup, but was solid with an 11-5-1 record, 2.14 GAA, .934 save percentage and three shutouts.
“They did unbelievable in getting Mac,” Babcock said. “Great person, great family, great pro, does it right everyday, good goaltender. He’s a quality man.”
Pickard, 26, had a 21-9-1 record with a 2.31 GAA and .918 save percentage with the Toronto Marlies last season. He played one game with the Leafs, making 24 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado.
“Pick is another quality, quality guy.,” Babcock said. “Unbelievable for Sparks last year helping him become a pro (in the AHL). He’s had good numbers in the National Hockey League. He’ll do a good job, but he’s a great teammate. We’re going to miss those guys.”
Sparks was named the AHL’s top goalie last season with a 31-9-1 record, 1.79 GAA, .936 save percentage and six shutouts. He went 14-5 in the playoffs with a 1.00 GAA and .956 save percentage to help the Marlies capture the Calder Cup.
Sparks played 17 games for the Leafs in 2015-16, going 6-9-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage.
Tuesday’s moves leave Finnish goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo as the most experienced netminder on the Marlies.
“Kaskisuo is now in the minors — he’s standing by himself, and yet that’s the way the league is made,” Babcock said. “It’s made to try to keep everybody exactly the same, right? So that’s the way it goes. You’d love to have them all slip through (waivers), but they didn’t.”