Ilya Samsonov embraces Matt Murray following a win last season
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Ilya Samsonov speaks out for first time since being waived by the Maple Leafs

Published January 11, 2024 at 5:57 PM

Earlier this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs recalled struggling goaltender Ilya Samsonov from the Toronto Marlies. Rather than getting back into a rhythm in the NHL in game action, Samsonov is set to be the backup behind Martin Jones for Thursday's contest against the New York Islanders.

The pending UFA goaltender has had a rough season so far, and that's probably an understatement, posting a 3.92 GAA and .862 save percentage. This led to the Russian netminder getting placed on waivers for the purpose of an assignment to the AHL. Samsonov didn't end up playing a game with the Marlies, opting to skate and work out on his own away from the team.

Samsonov met with the media on Thursday afternoon on Long Island and spoke for the first time publicly since the team's loss to Columbus on Dec 29th. How did Samsonov feel being waived by the Leafs? About as upset as you can imagine. Still, he didn't let that get in the way of his training to get back to where he needs to be.

"You're sad. Yeah, you're sad. But it's probably nice signal for your brain and your body. Man, wake up and you need back on track and working as hard as you can.

I don't want to talk about this a lot. I feel really positive. I stay positive all the time. I stick working. I'm try to do my best on the ice & in the gym ... I'm just wait some time when I have a chance to play." - Samsonov on his current situation in Toronto

Time will tell if the extra work away from the team makes a difference in Samsonov's game. Toronto plays tonight and then back-to-back on Saturday against the Avs and Sunday against Detroit.

After clearing waivers, Samsonov can bounce between the NHL and AHL for a total of 10 games or 30 days on the roster before needing to clear again. Recently assigned Dennis Hildeby could be an option for Sunday's contest if Samsonov isn't deemed game-ready just yet.

Samsonov knows his play this season has likely cost him millions in future earnings on his next contract, but at this point, all he can do is dust himself off and bring his best effort as he looks to salvage what remains of this season before free agency this summer.
January 11   |   741 answers
Ilya Samsonov speaks out for first time since being waived by the Maple Leafs

Who should the goalie tandem be in Toronto for the playoffs?

Woll and Jones58478.8 %
Woll and Samsonov324.3 %
Woll and upgrade via trade12516.9 %
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