5 Maple Leafs players who must bring their A-Game following the All-Star Break

The Toronto Maple Leafs need a huge second half if they plan on embarking on a major run that will land them a top-three spot in the Atlantic.
Jan 20, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91),
Jan 20, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91), / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 5
Next

Ilya Samsonov must keep showing that he belongs

It wasn’t long ago when it looked like Ilya Samonsov would be spending time in the AHL, but that stint was short-lived, and the 26-year-old has another chance to stick around if he performs up to standard. Since his return, Samsonov has been productive, saving 92 shots on goal in 98 attempts and securing a 0.939 save percentage, along with a shutout.

But we also know how poorly Samsonov played that ultimately ended up with him getting reassigned. His first 15 games saw him finish with a 5-2-6 record and 325 saves on 377 shot attempts, good for a measly 0.862 save percentage. Therefore, you can’t blame Toronto for looking to go in another direction, but if he keeps playing the way he has, you also can’t blame them for perhaps wanting to keep him around. 

Samsonov has shown us he can be productive between the pipes, so now it’s all about consistency. If he plays well in the foreseeable future, even if he’s not saving nearly 94 percent of opponents’ shots on goal every night, he’s at least factoring into the rotation again. But if he reverts to what we saw earlier this season, he will quickly find himself back in the AHL.