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Ilya Samsonov of the Maple Leafs in net.
Photo credit: The Score

Toronto Maple Leafs place starting goaltender on waivers

Published December 31, 2023 at 12:17
BY LIAM
     
Moments ago, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs have made the bold decision of waiving their starting goaltender, Ilya Samsonov.


The decision comes as Samsonov has seriously struggled throughout the beginning of the season. Through 15 games this year, Samsonov has a 5-2-6 record with a brutal 3.94 GAA and .862 save percentage. At the end of this season he'll be an unrestricted free agent, and is owed $3.5M in salary this year.

It's obviously a bold choice by Toronto to waive their starting goalie, who does have a recent track record of success and has a high pedigree as a former first round pick. However, the same issues that led to his downfall in Washington have crept back in Toronto, and now his poor play can't possibly justify the value of his contract. Simply put, Samsonov can't win games right now.


It's an incredibly similar situation to the one Jack Campbell is in with the Edmonton Oilers - a highly paid goaltender with the expectations to be a starter on a contending team that can't seem to put it together mentally to win games.

Additionally with Samsonov, the Buffalo Sabres also waived goaltender Eric Comrie, who also has experience as a starting goalie in the NHL.


With their obvious need at the goaltending position, it perhaps makes sense for the Edmonton Oilers to place a claim on one of these goaltenders. Samsonov has shown he can be an elite goalie, posting a .919 save percentage in 42 games last year, but comes with the risk of a moderate size contract. Eric Comrie has a lower ceiling than Samsonov, but comes with less risk in a cheaper contract. For now, we'll have to wait and see if any team across the league decides to place a claim on these goalies.
POLL
December 31   |   657 answers
Toronto Maple Leafs place starting goaltender on waivers

Should the Oilers claim one of these goalies?

Ilya Samsonov16425 %
Eric Comrie11517.5 %
None37857.5 %
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