For Ilya Samsonov, he was expected to be the Toronto Maple Leafs number-one netminder for the 2023-24 season after leading the team past the first round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in two decades.
Not only that, he also posted impressive numbers last season with a 27-10-5 record along with a 2.33 GAA and .919 save percentage.
However, it has been nothing short of a total disaster for Samsonov so far this season. Aside from a strong start against the division leading Boston Bruins last week, Samsonov has been a shell of his former self with respect to his overall performance.
In seven games, he has a bloated 4.11 GAA and a mediocre .855 save percentage, including being pulled in two of his starts. Somehow, he was lucky enough to still hold a 2-1-2 record for the season, thanks to some timely offence by the Leafs.
At the same time, rookie Joseph Woll has done a solid job so far for the Leafs in helping to keep them on track, and appears to be starting to steal the net from Samsonov.
However, Woll has never made more than 32 starts in his professional hockey career, so the Leafs cannot risk counting on him to carry a heavy load during the season, or else he may burn out by the end of the year.
As a result, Samsonov will need to turn his game around soon to reform the two-headed monster that was expected entering the season. Otherwise, the Leafs may need to look elsewhere to resolve the issue in the near future.
Overall, the scariest part of it all is the fact that among the five players listed, it appears that all four key offseason signings have not been working out so far for the Leafs, and that could spell trouble for the team if things aren’t rectified soon.