Who Gets the Net When Playoffs Start for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Will it be the veteran Ilya Samsonov, or rookie Joseph Woll manning the crease in the Leafs Stanley Cup run?
Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars
Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

When it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll, they have done everything they can this year to keep the team competitive and most importantly, win hockey games.

Woll may have been out for awhile with an injury, while Samsonov needed a reset midway through the season, but each of them had fought through adversity in helping the Toronto Maple Leafs to success for the most part of the season.

Also, don’t let their overall numbers fool you. Samsonov’s 3.08 GAA and .891 save percentage, along with Woll’s 2.88 GAA and .907 save percentage may seem like a far cry from being called elite numbers. But it has been their key saves at key moments in the games for the Leafs that have made them true difference makers for the team. Just think Grant Fuhr back in his days with the Edmonton Oilers.

As a result, when playoff time comes around, who should get the nod in net to start for the Leafs?

Who Gets the Net When Playoffs Start for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

With both goalies each providing just as strong value to the team, perhaps they can take on the approach using analytics and statistics to determine who gets to play when.

For instance, Woll has far superior numbers compared to Samsonov this season when playing on the road, with Woll sporting a 2.18 GAA and .932 save percentage compared to Samsonov and his 2.92 GAA and .894 save percentage. With the Leafs likely to start the first round of the playoffs on the road, then Woll should get the call to start the series.

If not, then perhaps the Leafs should base it on the opponent they will face. If they get the big and bad Boston Bruins, Samsonov has had success against them this season with a massive 38-save performance while allowing only two goals in his only appearance. This is compared to Woll’s struggles in dropping all three games to the Bruins while yielding 12 goals and sporting a .865 save percentage.

Or if it is the Florida Panthers, the roles are flipped around as Woll dominated the Panthers in his only start, saving 38-of-39 shots en route to victory, whereas Samsonov struggled in his two games against the cats.

But with the analytics and numbers game often unreliable in determining potential outcomes, the Leafs should just go with the one they believe gives them the best chance at winning.

In that case, with Samsonov being the only Leafs goalie in almost the past two decades to help the team get past the first round of the playoffs, he should be more than deserving to lead the way for the Leafs once again this postseason.

Added to the fact that he has compiled a strong 23-7-7 record this season, including posting a whopping 18 wins in his last 23 games played, perhaps the Leafs should go with the hot hand since they seem to be winning whenever he plays. After all, isn’t winning in itself the most important thing in the playoffs? (All stats from hockey-reference.com)


Either way, the Leafs certainly have two more-than-capable goaltenders at their disposal for the playoff run, and if the stars align, they should be able to shine and help take the team to perhaps somewhere they have never gotten to in a long, long time.