Former Leaf discusses Samsonov's arbitration award, provides his two cents

Ryan Smitheram
July 24, 2023  (11:23)

Late yesterday afternoon, an arbitration award was decided for Ilya Samsonov, a 1-year, $3.55M contract after he and the Leafs could not come to terms on a new agreement prior to the hearing. The deal is just under the mid-point of Samsonov's ask and the Leafs' counter ($4.9M and $2.4M). Today on TSN1050's First Up, former Leaf Frankie Corrado discussed Samsonov's arbitration award and provided his two cents on how the deal is beneficial for both sides.

"I think its a win for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov is a $4M goalie based on his statistics for last season. The thing that Samsonov had going against him was that all those goalies that signed for $4M recently were UFAs. So you can't use those comparables in an arbitration case you can only use goalies that were RFA. For him to get $3.55M is probably $500K less than what he is worth if he plays the way he played last season. For the Leafs, that's a good contract. You have your starting goaltender under $4M, your secondary goalie, if it's Joseph Woll, is under $1M. So you have your tandem in the $4M's, that's pretty good. Samsonov is on a 1-year prove it deal at $3.55M. If he has another season (like last season) he'll be able to cash in [as a UFA]. You're basically paying the guy double his salary to do the same thing he did for you. Its a great situation for the Leafs and a great contract for Samsonov."
The Leafs will have their goaltending tandem signed for under $4.5M next season, which is a huge break considering it could have been upwards of $8M if they were going to run it back with Matt Murray and Samsonov. In addition to that, the Leafs' got a bargain on Samsonov's AAV as it has him ranked 29th in goalies for AAV and he performed far better than that last season. Samsonov and the Leafs won't be able to talk extension until January 1st, but should Samsonov perform as he did last season, he will be able to cash in and the Leafs will likely want to retain him for a few more seasons if he does.
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