Latest decision by Sheldon Keefe points to a huge goaltending controversy in Toronto

Published March 13, 2024 at 4:28 PM

Ever since Maple Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll returned from his high-ankle sprain injury, which kept him out for more than two months, it has been difficult to decipher which decision Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe will make next with his goalie carousel.

With Toronto's short break coming to an end as the Leafs travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers Thursday night on the road, many fans have found Sheldon Keefe's goaltending decision for that game somewhat of a controversial one.

Woll has been perceived by most as the Leafs' #1 goaltender and having missed so much time, he will need a good run of games to get into a rhythm. However, the Leafs seem to be much more keen on starting Samsonov right now. To that effect, the Leafs have also confirmed Samsonov as the starter tomorrow in Philly.

Woll has lost 2 of his last 3 starts, with both losses coming at the hands of the Boston Bruins during a stretch of games in which the Leafs were also battling a flu bug. It's tough to ascertain whether Woll's stat lines during those games were a result of poor play or if his forwards and defensemen simply weren't doing an adequate job in front of him. Woll has now allowed 4 goals in 3 of his last 5 starts.

Meanwhile, Samsonov's last 5 games paint a much prettier picture with 4 wins, including wins in each of his last 3 starts. Samsonov has not posted a SV% below .914 since February 27th against the Vegas Golden Knights.

You can't really blame Keefe for going with the hot hand right now, and I'm sure that as Woll gets healthier and more comfortable, we'll see a much more even split between he and Samsonov in terms of their workload. It's also worth mentioning that the Leafs still have Martin Jones up with the big club, so Keefe and company will have to try to find a start for the veteran netminder here and there as well to keep him involved and avoid sitting for too long with the playoffs looming.

Really, this is a good problem to have if you're Sheldon Keefe and the Maple Leafs. Still, though, if the situation isn't managed properly and if Woll isn't given a stretch of games with which to fine tune and get ready for the playoffs, then the Leafs will be just one injury away from a potentially disastrous situation.

March 13   |   617 answers
Latest decision by Sheldon Keefe points to a huge goaltending controversy in Toronto

Has Ilya Samsonov done enough to deserve the lion's share of the starts right now?

Yes, Sammy has rebounded nicely37560.8 %
No, Joseph Woll needs more starts10216.5 %
I think he and Woll should be 50/50 right now14022.7 %
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