Ilya Samsonov on the ice for the Maple Leafs.
Photo credit: The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Goalie Ilya Samsonov finds a new home

Published January 1, 2024 at 12:09
Yesterday, the leafs shocked the hockey world by waiving their starting goaltender in Ilya Samsonov. The goalie has seriously struggled in his first 15 games of the season leading to the roster move, but it's still surprising given the success Samsonov had last season - even winning the first playoff series for the Leafs in almost 20 years and outduelling Andrei Vasilevskiy to do so.

Now after being waived yesterday, news has officially broken that Samsonov has cleared waivers and will be joining the Toronto Marlies for his new home in the AHL.

It's pretty surprising that no team across the league was willing to take a chance on Samsonov, who's still a young goalie with a track record of success and has the pedigree of a first round draft pick. It goes to show that a salary cap even as high as $3.5M is too risky for a development project for any team in the current era of the NHL.

The Leafs are planning to help Samsonov return to form with extensive mental health coaching while in the minors, and are also reportedly not planning to play him for at least a few weeks.

For now, the Leafs will be in a precarious goalie situation with playing Martin Jones and their recent call-up Dennis Hildeby in net. As a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Leafs were relying on Samsonov to continue his great play from last year, where he posted a .919 save percentage. After just 15 games with a save percentage below .870, the Leafs have decided they've seen enough from Samsonov now. We'll have to see if he can regain his confidence and join the team again, or if he'll fall more to the wayside like Jack Campbell and toil in the AHL indefinitely.
January 1   |   1715 answers
Maple Leafs Goalie Ilya Samsonov finds a new home

Will another team make a trade for Samsonov?

No, he's not worth anything50329.3 %
No, the Leafs want to rebuild him33619.6 %
Yes, another team will buy low on him45726.6 %
He won't be back in the NHL this year41924.4 %
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