Ilya Samsonov not present at first Marlies practice since clearing waivers
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Ilya Samsonov fails to report to Marlies for practice after clearing waivers

Published January 2, 2024 at 12:00
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs made waves over the weekend when they placed struggling goaltender Ilya Samsonov on waivers. The former 1st round pick was originally expected to join the Toronto Marlies this week while the Leafs are on the road for their Western road trip through California. However, as Marlies practice began on Tuesday, Samsonov was nowhere to be found.

The Athletic's Joshua Kloke revealed on Tuesday from Marlies practice that Samsonov was absent from practice and that he would not practice with the Marlies this week. Aside from those details, there was little else revealed, which has left fans with a ton of questions.

It was already known that Samsonov would be assigned to the Marlies for at least 1 week, at which point, the Leafs would re-evaluate where he's at before determining the next steps. He was not expected to play in any games for the Marlies this week, but now, with his absence from practice, it has many curious as to where things will go from here.

It's unclear whether Samsonov was told by the Leafs not to attend Marlies practice and to instead work with the development staff alone, or whether Samsonov's agent simply advised his client not to report. Could we see a trade request come in this week? It's possible, but seems somewhat unlikely, under the circumstances.


Samsonov and his camp lobbied for a near $5M AAV this summer as they filed for salary arbitration. The Leafs countered with an offer closer to $2M, with the award ultimately coming in at $3.55M. Samsonov's horrendous first half has diminished his value at this point and not only would it be tough for the Leafs to facilitate a trade without retaining salary, but there may not be as many suitors as some might expect - especially when you consider that 31 teams passed on Samsonov when they could have had him for free on the waiver wire on Sunday/Monday.

We do know that the team is sparing no expense in attempting to get Samsonov back up and running and rebuilding his confidence. Samsonov is expected to see plenty of time with development staff, mental health coaches and video coaches in an attempt to help him find his footing. Typically, teams aren't going to commit to spending that amount of time and energy on someone they're trying to get rid of, so it would appear as though the goal truly is to help him rather than to part ways.

This continues to be a situation to keep an eye on. Hopefully we'll have some more clarity this week on why Samsonov has not reported to the Marlies as of yet.

POLL
January 2   |   956 answers
Ilya Samsonov fails to report to Marlies for practice after clearing waivers

Will struggling netminder Ilya Samsonov request a trade out of Toronto?

Yes44646.7 %
No25626.8 %
I hope so25426.6 %
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