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Samsonov negotiations take an unexpected turn in final hours


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Ben Hodgson
July 20, 2023  (5:19 PM)
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Ever since the Leafs decided not to utilize the NHL's first buyout window of the off season to offload Matt Murray's contract, it's been understood that Ilya Samsonov would be filing for arbitration. Samsonov filing opened up a second buyout window for the Leafs. This allows them to clear the cap space they need to sign him and gave Brad Treliving more time to find an option that wouldn't hurt the Leafs cap next season. Unfortunately, that extra time is running out, as is the time the Leafs and Samsonov have to hammer out a deal before the arbitration hearing.

The expectation was that, as in most cases, the two parties would come to an agreement before the hearing date. It made sense, both sides wanted a deal longer than the 2 year max term that an arbitration award can carry and both sides want to get a deal done. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there will be one by the time the hearing starts at 9 am on Friday.
Speaking with Toronto Sun reporters, Samsonov's agent, Don Meehan didn't exactly have a reassuring statement.
I really don't know what will happen. I imagine we will meet with the Leafs (one final time before the hearing commences) - Don Meehan

Meehan's words are far from encouraging with the hearing less than 24 hours away. While it's true that the two sides are quite far apart in the numbers on their filings, I wouldn't consider that to be indicative of where they'd like to be. Teams will always lowball and players will always inflate their value. The most likely outcome, arbitration award or not, is that they land somewhere in the middle, Murray gets bought out, and Ilya Samsonov remains a Maple Leaf for, at the very least next season.
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Samsonov negotiations take an unexpected turn in final hours

Will Samsonov and the Leafs strike a deal before tomorrow morning's arbitration hearing?

Yes15838.1 %
No25761.9 %
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