NHL analyst believes Ilya Samsonov's time as a Toronto Maple Leaf may be over

ARJUN B
NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Ilya Samsonov's time in Toronto Maple Leaf may be over

Ilya Samsonov's future with the Toronto Maple Leafs appears uncertain following the team's disappointing exit from the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

NHL analyst Matt Larkin believes that Samsonov's time as a Maple Leaf may end due to his inconsistent performance.

On Daily Faceoff, Larkin categorized Samsonov, among other players, as "gone" and wrote:

"[Maple Leafs GM Brad] Treliving passed up any opportunity to name him [Samsonov] as a piece of the Leafs’ net last week during management’s season-ending presser. It simply makes little sense to bring back a netminder with a penchant for allowing backbreaking goals."

Samsonov's regular-season statistics for the 2023-24 campaign were respectable, as he posted a 23-7-8 record with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage. However, his playoff performance left much to be desired, with a 1-4-0 record, a 3.01 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage.

Despite being selected over Joseph Woll to start the playoffs after going 6-1-1 in his final eight regular-season games, Samsonov struggled in the postseason. Woll briefly replaced him in Game 4 and started Games 5 and 6 before an injury forced Samsonov back into the net for the decisive Game 7 against the Bruins.

Ilya Samsonov discusses his gameplay and contract situation

Ilya Samsonov was candid when reflecting on his performance this past season, admitting he needs to elevate his game.

"I need to play better than what we see in the series about me. I need extra saves, extra good pass, or whatever," Samsonov said at his end-of-season media availability on May 6.
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"I'm a guy who understands. First of all, I'm professional. I need to understand, too, for myself. I need to play better, and this is true. It's not about how we defend or power play, it's whatever is going on. But I need to be better for this team and in this series," he added.

The goaltender was awarded a one-year, $3.55 million deal in arbitration last summer after his first one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2022-23.

Ilya Samsonov admitted the lack of long-term commitment has affected him mentally.

Samsonov said:

"The last couple of years, seriously, the last three years, I'm just working with one (year) deal contract. It's not too easy. It's not too easy for me. You think about it... I think I want to get some more stability.
"Maybe this will be nice if we get a couple of years or a three-year contract. It's true. This will be good for my family."

As the Maple Leafs look to address their goaltending situation in the offseason, it remains to be seen whether Samsonov will be part of their plans moving forward.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht
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