Did Leafs GM Brad Treliving tip his hand and accidentally reveal his plan for the goalies in Toronto?

Published September 10, 2023 at 9:37

Following an arbitration hearing earlier this summer, Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov was awarded a 1-year, $3.55M contract for the upcoming season. While the Leafs likely would have preferred a longer deal, the 1-year deal gives them the flexibility to go in a different direction if Samsonov is unable to repeat last season's performance. In addition, the Leafs believe highly in Joseph Woll, who will be Samsonov's backup and he is signed to a much friendlier deal with 2-years remaining at under $800k per season. With that being said, Leafs GM Brad Treliving gave both a vote of confidence heading into training camp.

"It's like dog years. In goaltending years, [Ilya at age 26] is still a young goaltender. And I think he had his most productive year as a pro. I thought he had a terrific season. There's still certainly growth there. I like the summer that he's had. Ilya has been back for some time in town and training," said Treliving of Samsonov.

Treliving also touched on the development of Woll last month saying, "Joe is a terrific young goaltender. We got a chance to see that last year in his limited time he had here, then he made some starts in the playoffs. I've gone back and watched the starts that he has had. But I knew Joe coming in, going back to his amateur career, seeing him in the American League. So, I think he's ready to grab a hold of a job here."

Unlike most of the media, who say the Leafs' goaltending situation has some question marks, Treliving appears to be very confident in both Samsonov and Woll and likes what he's seen in their off-seasons so far. There is no doubt who is number 1 and who is number 2, but it's up to Samsonov to find a way to manage the increased workload as the official starter and maintain his health and it's up to Woll to do the same. The ideal scenario would see Samsonov play around 50 games, with Woll playing in close to 30 so that both are fresh for the playoffs. Enter Martin Jones.

When the Leafs inked veteran netminder Martin Jones to a 1-year, $875K deal to be the team's 3rd string goalie, the move came as a bit of a surprise, given how well Jones played for Seattle in the early stages of last season. Obviously, we know that Jones is 3rd in the pecking order here, but if he can come in as the team's 3rd goalie and provide that stable, veteran presence and help both Samsonov and Woll during practice and step in to fill in if the injury bug bites, that's really all anyone can ask for.

"I feel we've got depth, and we've got players there. We've got experience [in Jones]. We've got a player that to me is just coming into their own in Ilya, and a young player that's just starting to emerge in Joe," Treliving said.

By all appearances, it's beginning to look like the Leafs may, in fact, opt to go with a 3 goalie set this season. Jones is the most likely to sit up in the press box if this does happen, but it's also an excellent way to ensure that the Leafs don't lose a goaltender by attempting to waive either Woll or Jones.

I think training camp will tell us a lot about what the plan might be for the upcoming season. If the Leafs do use a 3 goalie setup, though, it would be fairly unorthodox, as the majority of teams only carry 2 goalies on the NHL roster. Then again, with Keefe going 11F/7D at so many points last year, I'm not sure he minds the unorthodox.

September 10   |   316 answers
Did Leafs GM Brad Treliving tip his hand and accidentally reveal his plan for the goalies in Toronto?

Will the Leafs roll 3 goalies this season instead of waiving one?

Yes13342.1 %
No12940.8 %
Only if they use a 23-man roster5417.1 %
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