Former NHL goalie gives his take on the Leafs' current goaltending situation

Published August 22, 2023 at 9:24

Instead of buying out Matt Murray when the second buyout window opened following the arbitration ruling on Ilya Samsonov's new deal, the Leafs placed the 29-year-old on LTIR for the upcoming season. It does not mean that he won't return at some point, but it is highly unlikely. With Samsonov and Joseph Woll as their tandem heading into the new season, the Leafs felt the need to add some more experience to their goaltending depth. That's when they signed Martin Jones to a 1-year deal at $875K. On TSN's OverDrive yesterday, Martin Biron joined Dave Feschuk and Brendan Dunlop to discuss the depth and what they hope to get from Samsonov, Woll and possibly Jones this season.

"Samsonov played really well last year if he is healthy and plays 55-60 games great. I really like Joseph Woll I think he did really good last year. But I wanna see can he take a step forward. Can he play 30 games? If Samsonov is hurt can't you trust Woll to play 5/6 games in a row," said Biron. "That's still not confirmed and still not something you can trust but he has all the talent. So, if Samsonov holds up like he did last year and being healthy I think the Leafs should be fine in that department. It's just a matter of putting it all together," Biron continued, believing that the Leafs' goaltending is as good as last season. He then commented on the addition of Jones and what to expect from him.

"I'm a fan of Martin Jones. In this day and age goaltenders have to be limber, flexible and have to be able to move. I feel like Jones is very stiff. When he was at his best with San Jose he reminded me of Connor Hellebuyck. It was all about positioning and letting the puck hit you but I feel like he lost that his reaction time and movement time is not what it once was but he has the experience and if Woll can't give you good enough backup roll type goaltending I know Jones will do it. Hell play a game every 10 days and at least he'll give you backup style goaltending. But the Leafs want more than that. They want someone that can compete with Samsonov. I don't think Jones can compete with Samsonov but I think Will could push it."

Biron also touched on how Jones started very well with Seattle last season before falling into old habits that saw him struggle, but hopefully with the Leafs' expansive goaltending department, he will be able to recover to the goalie he was at the start of last season. For Woll, he has all of the talent as Biron said, but he has a very small sample size in the NHL and the Leafs are gambling that he didn't just catch lightning in a bottle during his stints with the club over the past two seasons and is capable of giving Samsonov a break when needed.

There are a lot of questions surround this year's Leafs and only time will answer most of them, beginning with training camp in a few weeks.

August 22   |   297 answers
Former NHL goalie gives his take on the Leafs' current goaltending situation

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