How Should The Toronto Maple Leafs Handle the Goalies When Joseph Woll Returns?

Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Jones (31) looks to
Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Jones (31) looks to / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Joseph Woll landed on the injured reserve in early December, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been running with a tandem of last year’s starter Ilya Samsonov and veteran Martin Jones

In doing so, the two have produced some mixed results to date, as the Toronto Maple Leafs have gone 4-3-1 in Woll’s absence.

For Samsonov, he has been the one struggling more among the two as after posting a strong shutout against the Nashville Predators on December 9th, he has followed it up with three straight games in which he had given up four or more goals, including being pulled from his most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres. In the four games since Woll’s injury, Samsonov went 1-1-2 with an .851 save percentage and a GAA above four.

On the other hand, Jones has stepped in and performed admirably thus far in his stint with the Leafs. In addition to completing the win against the Ottawa Senators in the game he took over when Woll left due to his injury, Jones has gone a stellar 4-1-0 in six games, posting a solid 2.79 GAA and .917 save percentage in the process. He is beginning to give off vibes of his once-dominant form back in his days with the San Jose Sharks.

How Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Handle Their Goalies?

Which presents the dilemma, what should the Leafs do with the goaltending situation when Woll eventually returns?

Woll was actually having a strong season thus far in the 2023-24 NHL season prior to his injury. He sported an 8-5-1 record with a 2.80 GAA and .916 save percentage in 15 games played.

More importantly, he often came up with big saves to help keep the Leafs in games, while stealing some in others. As a result, it will be a no-brainer that he will be the team's starting goalie once he is ready to return. (All stats from

The more difficult decision will be what to do with both Samsonov and Jones. Samsonov has proven in the past to be a solid starter after playing a key role in taking the Leafs beyond the first round of the playoffs last season for the first time in two decades.

If he is able to overcome his current mental block in his game, he could be back stronger than ever. As for Jones, aside from the Sabres game in which he came in for mop-up duty, he has played very well in general and would make no sense to take out what’s been working for the team recently.

As a result, the best scenario may be to have the Toronto Maple Leafs roster all three goalies at the point in time when Woll returns, and then conscientiously decide whether sending a goalie back down or trading one would work out best for the team in the long run. Recent rumours have indicated that the Leafs have certainly considered the trade route to answer their goaltending problem.

10 Elite Defensemen the Leafs Could Trade For. 10 Elite Defensemen the Leafs Could Trade For. dark. Next

In any case, the Leafs should eventually run with the goalie tandem that gives them the best chance to win every night out, paving the way to eventual success in the playoffs and hopefully the Stanley Cup.