New Leafs goalie tandem off to a very promising start

Ben Hodgson
September 29, 2022  (9:11)

New Leafs Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray came into camp with a ton of question marks surrounding them. Both goaltenders were expected to be stars in the NHL. Both goaltenders ousted NHL legends upon their arrival, Murray supplanted Marc-Andre Fleury en route to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 and Samsonov took Braden Holtby's job away from him following Holtby's 2018 Stanley Cup victory.

Unfortunately, neither goaltender has managed to do much since then and both had found themselves on the outside looking in with their former NHL clubs. Kyle Dubas saw both as bounce back candidates and acquired both at discount prices. Ottawa retained 25% of Murray's salary and paying the Leafs a 3rd round pick and a 7th round pick as incentive to take him on. Samsonov, on the other hand, signed a 1-year deal with the Leafs as a UFA after being left without a qualifying offer by the Caps.
All summer long, there had been talk of the Leafs' new tandem being not just bad, but brutal heading into this season. Many within the fanbase felt as though the Leafs had downgraded in goal this summer. Murray in particular has been the target of mountains of vitriol from Senators fans, who are hoping to see their former goaltender crash and burn while playing for a heated Atlantic Division rival.
Since the new duo has taken the ice in pre season action, there hasn't been anything for the haters to talk about. Samsonov went first, playing 40 minutes against the Senators Saturday night and stopping all 16 shots he faced. Not to be outdone, Murray stonewalled the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, posting 16 saves of his own in his 40 minutes of action - with Alex Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok filling in on defense no less. He also chipped in offensively, assisting on Nick Robertson's first period goal. In total, the new duo have combined for 32 saves on 32 shots, one assist, a 1.000sv% and a 0.00 GAA.
Now, its only pre-season and we haven't seen either play 60 minutes yet, so let's pump the brakes a bit before we start handing out the NHL awards in September. Still, after all the talk we heard this summer about Murray and Samsonov, it just feels good to see them doing well in their preseason debuts. It's early yet, but so far, Kyle Dubas' gambles look like they may just pay off.
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