Toronto Maple Leafs: Need to Be Patient With Samsonov Situation

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The 2023-24 season could not have gone much worse for Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov than what has been displayed early on.

One of the prize signings by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 2022, which had the former first round pick posting 27-10-5 record with a 2.33 GAA and .919 save percentage. However, this season Samsonov has been a shadow of himself from last year.

Many are calling for the organization to do the same thing that the Edmonton Oilers did with Jack Campbell which was place him on waivers and send him to the American Hockey League.

The difference between the two players is the Oilers were hoping someone would put a waiver claim in on Campbell to get rid of the 3 1/2 remaining years of his contract at $5 Million cap hit. In Samsonov, a team would likely put a claim in on the Russian goalie as he holds very little risk for a team to claim him and this would cause a huge vacancy in the organization.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Need to Be Patient With Samsonov Situation

Samsonov has just over half a season left on his contract that carries a cap hit of $3.55 Million. The fifth year NHL goalie has had a brutal season, however, he is a season removed from carrying this team after the Matt Murray injury and is one start away from turning things around for the better.

The only way the Toronto Maple Leafs should or would put Samsonov on waivers is if they had a replacement in mind and if that is the case they would be better off seeing if they can acquire any type of asset for their goalie.

If and that is a big if, Samsonov goes on waivers and gets claimed, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be left with Joseph Woll who may not be back until February and soon to be 34-year old Martin Jones who hasn't been good in five years.

A lot of fans are starting to fall in love with Dennis Hildeby and he may be the starter of the future, but he is still relatively unproven playing against men. Prior to joining the Toronto Marlies late last season the 6'7" goaltender had played just 29 professional games in his career in Sweden.

What Sheldon Keefe needs to do is split the net between Jones and Samsonov until either Woll returns or the team finds a legitimate 1B to finish out the season; and at which point they can look at moving off of Samsonov. Unfortunately, I don't see any 1B goaltenders out there.

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Don't be angry if you continue to see Samsonov in the net going forward, for any success this season, barring a replacement, the team needs him to regain game.