3 Toronto Maple Leafs That Will Regress in 2023-24
For Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov, he is coming off his best NHL season last year in 2022-23 in which he posted a strong 27-10-5 record with a 2.33 GAA and .919 save percentage, en route to taking over the starting reigns in net for the team.
With his career averages coming in at around 2.69 for GAA and .906 for save percentage, many were possibly expecting some slight regression to the mean for the 2023-24 season.
However, the regression has been quite extensive thus far five games into the season.
After struggling somewhat even during his preseason games, Samsonov has been off to a rough start for 2023-24 as in four games, he has a horrific 4.34 GAA and .831 save percentage.
Not only that, but he appeared often fighting for the puck and hasn’t exude the same type of confidence that he showed last season as the Leafs starter in net.
Perhaps it could be due to the fact that he is trying too hard than he should be, as in his mind, he may be worried that he is being challenged by hot rookie Joseph Woll in terms of playing time.
Last season, the crease was clearly his, as Matt Murray eventually faltered before missing most of the rest of the season due to injury issues, so Samsonov never had a threat that could take away his net. However, to become a bonafide, number one goaltender in the NHL, it is these type of challenges they should be able to overcome to make themselves even better.
Unfortunately so far, Samsonov doesn’t appear to be up for the challenge and could be in for a forgettable season if he doesn’t turn things around soon.