Ex-Leaf reveals what should happen with Ilya Samsonov and it's a pretty harsh reaction

Ryan Smitheram
December 22, 2023  (12:10)

Photo credit: NHL

Through 14 games this season, Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov has struggled immensely with consistency. He is 5-2-5 in his 14 games, but has posted an awful 3.79 GAA and .871 save percentage.

Over his last five games, Samsonov has just 1 win (4-0 shutout against Nashville) and has given up 4 or more goals in his other four starts. Many believed that when Joseph Woll went down with an ankle sprain on December 9th against the Ottawa Senators, it would help Samsonov find some more consistency, as he did not have someone battling him for starts. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and third-stringer Martin Jones has looked much better than Samsonov when comparing their starts.
Following another horrible showing last night which saw Samsonov give up 5 goals on 19 shots before being pulled, former Leaf and current TSN analyst Frankie Corrado had some harsh words for the Leafs netminder, suggesting that a stint in the AHL should be the next step for Samsonov.
"They've given him every opportunity to get the net back and he hasn't really taken that opportunity and run with it. He hasn't come close to that and everyone around him is going to do everything they possibly can to put him in a position to do well. All that has failed now, so now you're at the point where you cannot put him in the net anymore. Flat out cannot put him in the net and he needs to find his game for his own sake, for the team's sake, but he can't do that at the NHL level. The NHL is too hard, it's too unforgiving.

We're at a situation with Samsonov where he probably needs to go play in the American Hockey League, just like Jack Campbell. It's very similar. His numbers indicate he's not ready to be at the NHL level right now and it's a significant fall off from where he was last year. The bottom line is that not only does he not give his team a chance to win, he makes it more than likely that his team is going to lose."

With the NHL's roster freeze in affect until December 27th, the Leafs won't be able to make any such move until the 28th at the earliest, but that is unlikely with Joseph Woll being sidelined for, presumably, another month. Given that there are a number of teams currently looking for a goalie and that Samsonov's cap hit is not overly egregious at just $3.55M, there is a good chance that he would be claimed off of waivers.
Should the Leafs go that route and Samsonov gets claimed, that would inevitably make them enter the goalie market in search of a veteran option to support Woll and Jones down the stretch - and there's no guarantee that whoever they brought in would be an improvement over Samsonov.
Logistically, the move makes zero sense for the Leafs, and sending Samsonov down could make matters worse, as it has with Jack Campbell in Edmonton/Bakersfield. Right now, the Leafs have to hope that the Christmas break will help Samsonov reset and help him with the mental side of the game, which could, in turn, help build his confidence back up.
22 DECEMBRE   |   1227 ANSWERS
Ex-Leaf reveals what should happen with Ilya Samsonov and it's a pretty harsh reaction

Do you agree with Corrado that Samsonov should be sent to the Marlies?

Yes, he needs it96778.8 %
No, we would lose him on waivers12710.4 %
It's such a tough call, given the risk13310.8 %
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