3 "What If" Scenarios That Could Lead to a Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup

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What if Ilya Samsonov Plays Well in the Playoffs?

Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov has looked much better since his return to the lineup.

He has won four of his past five games and has a 7-2-0 since being recalled after he was put on waivers and sent to the AHL (where he did not play in a game). Before Wednesday night's game against the Arizona Coyotes, Samsonov is 12-4-6 on the season with a 3.19 GAA and .882 SV%. However, those stats are misleading due to his early season struggles. During his 7-2-0 run, he has a .916 SV%.

What if the Leafs get the current version of Samsonov once the playoffs start? I think they will have a good opportunity to win a round or two if they get this type of goaltending.

If Leafs GM Brad Treliving can acquire a defensive defenseman before the trade deadline, that could help Samsonov even more. Fewer pucks to the net and fewer bodies screening his view could go a long way into Samsonov having a good playoff run.

The Leafs will need good goaltending if they hope to go deep into the playoffs. The offense won't save them every night. They need Samsonov to bail them out when needed.

Now, if Samsonov fails to play well in the playoffs, a different what-if comes into question. What if the Leafs need to rely on Martin Jones or Joseph Woll? Can either goaltender play well enough in those do-or-die games to help the Leafs get to the Stanley Cup finals?

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As much as Jones and Woll have helped this team during Samsonov's struggles, the Leafs have to be hoping that Samsonov is their guy. Hopefully, he continues to play well in the final stretch of the season and can be the goaltender the Leafs need him to be come playoff time.