Joseph Woll Is the Obvious Playoff Starter for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Mar 9, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov (35) makes a save
Mar 9, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov (35) makes a save / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Hey quick, what looks like Al Bundy and doesn't have a goalie or a cell phone?

If you answered Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving on Trade Deadline Day, you'd be 100% correct.

The Leafs GM either mixed up the dates on his Blackberry Callander or dropped his phone in the toilet and was too embarassed to ask for a replacement before Friday's NHL trade deadline.

Those are the only plausible reasons for the Leafs lack of action this past week.

Joseph Woll Is the Obvious Playoff Starter for the Toronto Maple Leafs

TJ Brodie and Ilya Samsonov - neither of whom would see the ice in the playoffs on a team serious about winning - combine to make $8 million dollars and it was a buyers market with extremely cheap prices, so don't tell me the Leafs couldn't have done something if they wanted to.

They didn't want to because if they lose they can just blame Kyle Dubas, and if they fluke out and Matthews and Marner get hot at the right time they can win regardless, so the only real risk here is that they flop completely and the incoming MLSE President fires Shanhanan who takes Treliving with him.

Based on Treliving's lack of action, it's clear they don't view that as a real threat, but I wouldn't be so sure myself. I suspect Shanahan has become complacent and doesn't realize how much rage he is going to have on his hands if this team flops in the first round.

Anyways, I'm rambling and have strayed from the topic at hand, which is goaltending.

Now, some people find the story of Ilya Samsonov redemptive and inspiring. Personally, I do not believe in the redemption of millionaires. Samsonov makes a ridiculous amount of money just to let people shoot vulcanized rubber at his face, and him going from unplayable (and unclaimed by every single team in the league) to somewhat living up to earning 10 x more than the (mostly) working class heroes who chip into pay his salary doesn't impress me.

I just don't care. I would have never let him start another game for this team after going on waivers, and I don't trust him to perform in the playoffs. Any goalie can look good for a month when Auston Matthews is scoring a goal per game, but Sammy has played 30 times and has a save percentage of .887.

He cannot be trusted in a big game.

Clearly the Leafs agree because despite his recent strong numbers, Joseph Woll started both games against Boston last week. Woll should be starting every single game from here on out, with the exception of any back-to-backs.

Joseph Woll is the no-doubt number-one goalie on the Toronto Maple Leafs and, barring injury, he should start 100% of the team's playoff games.

I think the Leafs should have been more invested in the now since Auston Mattews is at his absolute-peak and Marner, Tavares, Rielly and Nylander are never going to be better than they are today.

The Leafs have the 19th best 5v5 save-percentage in the NHL. They are 21st overall.

And despite that, Brad Treliving and Brendan Shanahan thought it was OK to enter the playoffs with Samsonov, Woll and Jones.

They had cap-space (Brodie and Samsonov) and they had the assets to make a trade (Easton Cowen, Frazer Minten, not to mention the first rounder that it is completely unacceptable to keep at this point) and there were impact players they could have chaced (Saros, Werenski).

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed by not acting at the deadline. Not doing so was pathetic and cowardly. Brad Treliving's first season as GM has been an absolute disaster by any objective standard.


I no longer trust this team to make the correct decision, but starting Joseph Woll in the playoffs over Ilya Samsonov is something they probably can't even screw up.