Analyst reveals why the Leafs haven't signed a veteran goaltender this summer

Published July 27, 2023 at 10:18

With yesterday's announcement that Matt Murray would be placed on LTIR this summer, the reality had set in that the Leafs' tandem this year would indeed be Ilya Samsonov and a 25-year-old Joseph Woll, who has just 11 games of NHL experience under his belt.

If Samsonov can play a similar game to what he did last season with the Leafs, the Buds will be getting exceptional goaltending from their starter. If Woll can provide the same goaltending that he did last season with an increased workload, this tandem stands a very good chance of being among the top 1-2 punches in the entire NHL.

Samsonov went 27-10-5 across 42 appearances last season, racking up a 2.33 GAA and a .919 SV%. Meanwhile, the rookie, Joseph Woll, went 6-1-0 in 7 games with the Buds, rocking a 2.16 GAA and a .932 SV%.

On Thursday morning, former NHLer and ex-Leafs AGM Dave Poulin joined the TSN 1050 First Up crew for a chat about all things Leafs, with the goaltending situation coming up in the conversation. Among the strong points that Poulin made on the program, he mentioned that he believes that the Leafs had perhaps known about Murray ahead of time and that them not going out and securing an experienced veteran as a replacement says a lot about how they feel about Woll and his ability to take a big leap forward this season with an increased workload.

"I think this is about Joseph Woll. I think this is a bet on Joseph Woll, that they feel, now he's 25 years old, he's only played 11 NHL games over the course of 2 years.. He hasn't played 100 professional games in total, American Hockey League, NHL, everything... I think is to roll the dice on Joseph Woll, because after him in the organization, guys, there is not much at all. There's not a proven 3rd string backup. You look at the guys that are slated for the Marlies, they're 20 and 21 years old. There's no pedigree, there's no background.. you don't have a Brian Elliott or Curtis McElhinney or somebody sitting in the background [with NHL experience], you don't have any of that. At least at this point, you don't... I think they feel strongly like Woll is going to take a huge step this year." - Poulin on the Leafs' belief in Joseph Woll as an NHL-caliber goaltender

We saw this situation once before in Toronto, where the Leafs passed the torch to Garret Sparks before he was ready. It didn't work out the first time around, with the Leafs allowing the aforementioned McElhinney to walk as a free agent and putting all of their eggs into the Sparks basket. The hope here is that Woll is a little more ready than Sparks was and possesses a better overall skill set that will allow him to succeed where Sparks had failed.

Having said that, there's still a couple of months here to work with before training camp, so there's still a possibility that the Leafs add an experienced veteran with NHL experience to the roster as a bit of an insurance plan in case the Woll experiment doesn't work out as planned.

July 27   |   443 answers
Analyst reveals why the Leafs haven't signed a veteran goaltender this summer

Is Joseph Woll the future starter in Toronto?

Yes, I believe in him29767 %
No, he's just a really good backup12628.4 %
I sure hope not204.5 %
Latest 10 stories