Leafs Goalie Ilya Samsonov Rebounding Since Being Put on Waivers

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting better goaltending from Ilya Samsonov than they got in the first half of the season.

The soon to be 27-year-old goaltender is rebounding at the right time for the Toronto Maple Leafs. As the Leafs continue to fight for playoff positioning, Samsonov is giving them a chance to win every night.

He looks like the Samsonov that fans were praising last season.

Before the new year, Samsonov had a 7-2-6 record in 15 games. Since the new year, he has a 6-2-0 record in eight games.

Leafs Goalie Ilya Samsonov Rebounding Since Being Put on Waivers

It appears that being waived and getting time to reset his focus and work with a mental health coach has worked. The Leafs are getting the type of goaltending that they knew they should be getting from Samsonov. Since January 14th, 2024, Samsonov has a 1.98 GAA and a .923 SV%, along with one shutout. (All stats from hockey-reference.com)

Having Samsonov bounce back to this high level of performance means that Leafs general manager Brad Treliving doesn't have to worry as much about acquiring a goaltender before the NHL trade deadline. Treliving can focus on defense and secondary scoring. Hopefully, Samsonov will continue to play at this level for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.

The Leafs desperately need Samsonov to finish the season strong and with momentum going into the playoffs. He is not the only player that needs to finish strong, but that's another subject for another article. I hope the Leafs get the best version of Samsonov from now until the Leafs final playoff game in 2024.

The Leafs have 30 games remaining this season with five sets of back-to-back games. Samsonov will likely play 25 of the remaining 30 games and let Martin Jones or Joseph Woll play the other five. At this point, it is hard to tell if Treliving will keep all three goaltenders on the main roster once Woll returns from injury or if he'll attempt to send Jones down to the AHL. It will all come down to what Treliving does at the trade deadline and how much salary cap space the Leafs have.


Samsonov will likely play on Saturday night before the Leafs head out on a four-game road trip to St. Louis, Arizona, Las Vegas, and Colorado. He should play in three of those games as well as the final two home games of February. Looking ahead at the schedule for March, the Leafs will benefit from getting a four-day break from March 10th to 13th.