Top 4 Storylines of Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 Season

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No. 3: Ilya Samsonov's Return to Glory

There was much debate about the Leafs starting goaltender's prior to the season and on January 1st, 2024, it looked like Ilya Samsonov may never play an NHL game again.

After struggling with a 5-2-6 record and NHL career worst in save percentage (.862 SV%) and goals against (3.94 GAA), the team put Samsonov on waivers, assigning him to the Toronto Marlies.

Samsonov would never actually play a game with the Marlies, but instead took a few weeks off to recharge and turned into a winning machine when he returned.

Once Joseph Woll got injured and Martin Jones turned into the everyday starter, it felt like this could be a season from Hell, but fortunately for everyone, Samsonov redeemed himself and looks to be the No. 1 goalie going into the playoffs.

After returning, Samsonov's stats improved, but most importantly his record improved, as he finished the campaign with a 23-7-8 record, .890 SV% and 3.13 GAA.

By returning to action and coming back to life, Samsonov was named the Leafs nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which recognizes the "NHL player who best exemplifies ‘sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to hockey."

After the way the season started, it's pretty remarkable that Samsonov ended up being the team's Bill Masterton Trophy nominee, so he deserves a ton of praise for his bounce back season.