What Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Do With Their UFAs?

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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Ilya Samsonov

It is not breaking news to say that Samsonov struggled this year.

Between being one of the league’s worst goalies to redeeming himself to then struggling again come the postseason, this was a rollercoaster season for the 27-year-old. A ride that the Leafs should not chance taking again.

He was left unqualified by the Washington Capitals in 2022, largely due to his inconsistent play. It is that same inconsistency that should see him hit the open market now in 2024. 

His play looked very promising after posting a .919% SV% (save percentage) in 42 games in 2022-23 but after signing a one-year $3.55 million after arbitration, his numbers plummeted to a career worst .890 SV% this past season.

As much as the free agent market in net is slim pickings, there needs to be an alternative option. Whether it comes from within in Dennis Hildeby or through the trade or free agent market, there needs to be changes in net. His current projection is $2.3 million for one year but at this point, the Leafs should look elsewhere for that money.

Martin Jones

Jones greatly exceeded expectations this season.

He was signed as a veteran insurance marker as a number three goalie to provide some separation between the tandem of Samsonov/Woll and their prospects.

Between the injury to Woll and Samsonov’s poor play, he stepped up admirably posting a .902 SV% in 22 games this year. Unfortunately, his play started to slip as the season wore on going from a .915 SV% through eight games in December to a .907% in nine in January and .885% in three games in February. Like Samsonov, his inconsistent play has hindered him greatly over his career as this is only the first time he has finished a season above .900 since 2017.

If he would be willing, it would make sense for the team to re-sign Jones to a similar salary and in a similar role. He was on a one-year league minimum contract this season.

According to AFP Analytics, they estimate his next contract to be around $950K for one year. Although fair, the Leafs should look to see if they can save the nearly $200K and sign somebody else if Jones is unwilling to go lower.