The best decision Brad Treliving made this summer just became obvious

Mike Armenti
December 21, 2023  (8:22 PM)

Photo credit: NHL

When the Toronto Maple Leafs hired ex-Flames GM Brad Treliving to replace Kyle Dubas this summer, many were curious to see how Treliving would address his first summer in the front office in Toronto.

There was a great deal of speculation early on as to whether or not he'd move a core 4 member, but Treliving got out in front of those theories early, confirming that all of Matthews, Tavares, Marner and Nylander would remain with the team, because, as he had put it, "elite players are hard to find". Beyond that, though, there were plenty of questions as to how he'd round out the roster.
Treliving's first offseason in Toronto wasn't perfect, but he did make a number of solid roster decisions. Bringing in Max Domi appears to have been a very good decision, as Domi has been just the type of energy guy that the Leafs have needed this season. His playmaking has been a real asset for the third line and his fearlessness had been on full display this year, much to the delight of the fanbase. Simply put, it's nice to have a Domi back in Toronto.
The additions of Tyler Bertuzzi and Martin Jones have been quality moves, and so far, the William Lagesson and Simon Benoit signings have been good ones as well, but among all of these positives, the best move of his summer might be the one he didn't make.
During the 1st intermission of the Leafs/Sabres game on Thursday night, Sportsnet's Justin Bourne suggested that Treliving's best move of the summer was his decision to take Ilya Samsonov through salary arbitration, rather than giving him a multi-year contract extension. At this point, it's tough to argue with his logic.
The Samsonov camp came into this past summer looking for a contract in the $4.5M-$5M range, while the Leafs were a lot more comfortable in the $2M range. When Samsonov filed for salary arbitration, his ask was $4.9M. His camp obviously had an idea in their head as to what he was worth and wouldn't even listen to Treliving when he suggested anything less. Thankfully, Treliving didn't buckle, and instead of trying to squeeze as much term out of Samsonov as he could to lower the AAV, he instead opted to see through the salary arbitration process, eventually landing on a 1-year award worth $3.55M.
Right now, with how poorly Samsonov has been playing this year, it's a very, very good thing that the Leafs didn't commit a lot of money and a lot of term to the 26-year-old netminder. Thankfully, if Samsonov doesn't pull himself together, the Leafs aren't on the hook beyond this season.
Obviously, with Samsonov having no term, the Leafs will still have to seek out a replacement in the summer to play with Joseph Woll. Who knows - maybe Martin Jones continues to play well and earns him a short-term extension. Or perhaps there's a goalie available in the summer who better suits the Leafs' needs. Whatever the case ends up being, it's looking like the Leafs are very fortunate not to have offered Samsonov a 4 or 5-year deal last summer.
The best decision Brad Treliving made this summer just became obvious

What is the best move Brad Treliving made this summer?

Bringing in Domi14815.5 %
Bringing in Bertuzzi747.8 %
Not signing Samsonov long-term65068.1 %
Other828.6 %
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