The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Waive Ilya Samsonov

Oct 21, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) (not pictured) goes past Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) for a goal in the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) (not pictured) goes past Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) for a goal in the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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In the midst of an awful 2-8-1 start to the season,  the Edmonton Oilers waived ex-Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell on Tuesday afternoon. The next stop for Campbell will likely be the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

Campbell’s save percentage this year is just .873, 13th-worst of all of the goalies in the League.  The Toronto Maple Leafs Ilya Samsonov is 8th-worst at .855 and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be the next ‘keeper having a porous season to be waived and demoted.

Joseph Woll had to relieve Samsonov early in the game against Tampa Bay last night and shut the door, allowing for the Leafs miraculous comeback.

It was the second time in as many games against the division rivals that such was the case. (stats nhl.com).

Ilya Samsonov Is Killing the Toronto Maple Leafs

Samsonov can’t stop the puck this year and is clearly fighting an internal battle with himself in an attempt to get back on track.  Sound familiar, Leafs fans?

Like Campbell did, too, Samsonov got paid based on one season of respectability in the League.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can’t help but think of the old saying, “even a blind squirrel will stumble upon the odd nut”.

There is simply too much at stake for the Toronto Maple Leafs to not take the same aggressive approach as with their own futile goaltender.  Woll was always the better option, as predicted by Editor In Leaf over two months ago.

GM Brad Treliving failed to recognize Woll’s readiness while building this year’s roster and wasted $3.55m on Samsonov.  He can correct that error today by waiving and demoting Samsonov, just as Edmonton’s Ken Holland had to eat humble pie and waive the white flag on his misjudgment of Campbell.

TheToronto Maple Leafs have veteran goalie, Martin Jones, waiting in the wings in the AHL and he’s a capable backup for Woll.  The swap would add $2.75 million of cap space (capfriendly.com) to the Leafs kitty which Treliving could use in other potential transactions to improve the team.

In a perfect world, Treliving could dump Samsonov as part of a trade package with another team   but the former option is both more recommendable and likely.

Decisions such as these are not easy decisions for any General Manager but they are the kind that require implementing for a team to have success in a League which is so restricting of roster movement due to the salary cap.

Next. The Leafs Top 10 Prospects. dark

They can also have a positive effects in the sense that they serve as a “wake up call” to other underachievers on a team that a similar fate could be theirs if they don’t find their games and on a Leafs team that has long had questionable accountability values, that isn’t a bad thing.