Ilya Samsonov continues to work finding his game
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Leafs provide surprising update on the struggling Ilya Samsonov

Published January 9, 2024 at 9:26

Ahead of the Leafs departing for California and their annual visits to Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim, they made the surprising decision to place goaltender Ilya Samsonov on waivers. After Samsonov cleared, he did not report to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, which was the Leafs' plan for him. Instead, Samsonov spent the week working with all of the Leafs' development staff, including a mental skills coach and goaltending coach Curtis Sanford.

On Monday, following questions about William Nylander's contract extension, Leafs GM Brad Treliving was asked about Samsonov and his progress since being placed on waivers.

"Ilya has had a good week ... We're going to huddle here later this afternoon to map out the next piece of that, but (the process) has been really good."

It sounds like Samsonov has progressed well enough this week with the development staff that Treliving and company are ready to take things to the next level with him. Treliving wasn't clear as to whether that meant he'd finally report to the Marlies, at least for practice, or make his return to the NHL at some point this week. However, on Tuesday, Sheldon Keefe provided some clarity.

Keefe told the media in Toronto on Tuesday following the morning skate that Samsonov will join the Marlies for practice this week. Keefe did not say whether or nor Samsonov would play any games with the Marlies, identifying Brad Treliving as the guy who will make that determination.

In 15 games for the Leafs this season, Samsonov has not performed well. While his 5-2-6 record would show that the Leafs are collecting points while he is in net, his .862 save percentage and 3.94 GAA show that it has not been easy for them to do so.

While it remains unclear what the next step actually entails for Samsonov, it's clear that Treliving and the coaching staff and development team have a clear plan in place for him - one that appears to be right on track. Will he play in any games for the Marlies? That remains to be seen.

January 9   |   1146 answers
Leafs provide surprising update on the struggling Ilya Samsonov

Will Samsonov return to the Leafs this week?

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