Maple Leafs goaltending is a question mark, just like every other year

Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov — your Maple Leafs goaltending tandem on opening night — are you ready for it?
It’s been an interesting week for Toronto, first trading away Petr Mrazek to Chicago at the draft and moving down a few picks. Many knew it was going to be a slim goaltending market with Jack Campbell likely headed to Edmonton, but I don’t know if anyone saw the Maple Leafs going out and getting Murray right before free agency began.
The same for Samsonov on Wednesday — Toronto didn’t know he was going to be a free agent until a few days prior to July 13th. The 25-year-old pretty much fell into their lap. Now, the question is, can one of them, or maybe even both of them, turn out to be a good pickup?
If you were watching TSN’s goaltending panel on Wednesday, you know what they all thought. This is going to be a disaster.
The fact of the matter, though, is that it likely won’t be a calamity. Both netminders are coming into this organization with something to prove. Samsonov, to show that he can return to the form he had when he entered the NHL. Murray, to prove that he’s not injury prone and that he can make it …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign Samsonov to a one year, $1.8M deal

As initially reported by Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Ilya Samsonov is a Leaf and the Leafs have two NHL goaltenders for the 2022-23 season.

Hearing #Leafs have agreed to terms with G Ilya Samsonov on a 1-year, $1.8 million deal.
Toronto has their guy to play alongside Matt Murray in tandem next season.@DailyFaceoff
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 13, 2022

The contract is a bit of a steal for the Leafs and has to make us feel pretty damned good. It’s less than we expected the Leafs to spend, but the idea of Toronto investing in goal on finding out if either one or both of Murray and Samsonov can be their answer in net makes a ton of sense.
Here’s what we know about Samsonov:

SEASON
GP
W
SV%
GAA
SO
SA
SV
QS%
RBS
GA%-
GSAA
ADJGAA
2019-20
26
16
0.913
2.55
1
689
629
0.591
2
96
2.3
2.72
2020-21
19
13
0.902
2.69
2
499
450
0.389
3
107
-3
2.96
2021-22
44
23
0.896
3.02
3
1145
1026
0.333
8
112
-12.5
3.1
CAREER
89
52
0.902
2.81
6
2333
2105
0.418
13
106
-13.6
2.96

By comparison to his team performance, Samsonov’s numbers are pretty much on track. No one has been dragging him down, in fact he seems he made things a little tougher on the Capitals.

Here are the rest of the numbers on Samsonov:

GP
XGA
GSAE
GSAE/60
SVAE
WAR
HDSV%
XHDSV%
HDSVAE
44
106.94
-12.1
-0.307
-0.006
-2.01
0.676
0.705
-0.029
These numbers don’t really inspire a lot of confidence. The confidence in Samsonov comes from draft pedigree, being a top prospect, and knowing that it often that 25-28 year range where goaltenders start coming into their own. Perhaps a change of scenery, a goaltender who played in Russia and knows Russian goaltenders, and a coach that worked under the goaltending coach that developed Sergei Bobrovsky might be what is leading to the Samsonov selection. If the Leafs took Matt Murray for Jon Elkin, it seems like they took Ilya Samsonov because they think he’s the right fit for Curtis Sanford.
From what I said a couple of days ago about Samsonov:
By the numbers, Samsonov doesn’t look like an enticing option, at least for the 2022-23 season, but there is something to be said for what comes beyond that. If he takes a step in the positive direction at all, and one can assume that it’s entirely possible, Samsonov could be the better long term solution while Murray serves as the best short term option. The fact that Samsonov has been able to get into more games than Murray as provides a bit of a safety net for that tandem, and if I’m to set the lowest possible bar, the Capitals managed to be a playoff team with Samsonov in net, surely the Leafs can as well.
None of this is a ringing endorsement for Samsonov, nor has there been too ringing an endorsement for Murray, but both represent attempts at finding something that can move the bar on the Leafs goal situation. And at the very least, perhaps the availability of Samsonov moves the bar on …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation