John Tavares speaks on the Leafs' decision to waive Samsonov
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Leafs captain reacts to the team's decision to waive Ilya Samsonov

Published January 1, 2024 at 5:01 PM

The decision to waive Ilya Samsonov is easy to digest as a fan base. However, the harsher realities surrounding the management group, coaching staff, and the players themselves seem to have hit a lot harder. Samsonov was supposed to be the number one goaltender this season with Joseph Woll acting as his backup, but that script had been flipped early on, as from the moment the puck dropped on the new season, Samsonov just didn't have it.

In 15 games, the Russian netminder carried a 5-2-6 record with 1 shutout and sported some of the worst peripherals in the league with a grotesque 3.94 G.A.A. and a .862 SV%. If he were the backup goaltender or even the third string, waiving him would've been a simple decision and it would have been carried out awhile ago. Since he was so solid for the Leafs last season, however, that decision was a lot more difficult.

Nevertheless, Brad Treliving and the Maple Leafs did what they thought was best and with Samsonov clearing waivers, he will now report to the Toronto Marlies. Now, the goal is for him to sit out at least the first week of games to regroup mentally and stabilize himself in what is about to be the biggest challenge of his young career.

The move wasn't lost on his teammates either as captain John Tavares spoke out about the decision, and about Samsonov as a teammate and a friend:

"We feel for Sammy in the way that it has gone. As a team and individually, you're disappointed that in a lot of those games, we just didn't play better ... We love him as a teammate. So definitely feel for him."

Sheldon Keefe kept throwing Samsonov back into the lion's den rather than riding the hot hand of Martin Jones and his game just never smoothed out. He was playing without confidence and the team was suffering for it. So, while the team is definitely disappointed and pointing fingers at themselves out of respect, Jones and Dennis Hildeby will take their turns in the blue paint until Woll returns. What the future holds for Samsonov will be entirely up to him.

One has to believe that things can't get any worse for the Blue and White, especially in goal, as they enter the new year looking to right the ship.

January 1   |   1162 answers
Leafs captain reacts to the team's decision to waive Ilya Samsonov

Who will return for the Leafs first between Samsonov and Woll?

Woll will return first102988.6 %
Samsonov will return first13311.4 %
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