Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll
Photo credit: NHL

Questionable decision from Sheldon Keefe raising some concerns in net in Toronto

Published March 19, 2024 at 1:39 PM

Promising Leafs rookie goalie Joseph Woll has been forced to take a back seat to fellow goaltender Iyla Samsonov since returning from his high ankle sprain. There is no doubt the Russian native has been playing better between the two goalies with Samsonov winning four out of his last five starts, but at some point, the time Woll spends on the bench is going to become very detrimental.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe has decided that Samsonov will get start yet again tonight in the Leafs' grudge match with the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly. This comes after heavy speculation that this start was earmarked for Woll.

The 25-year-old Woll hasn't played since March 7th when he allowed four goals in a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Woll's last win came on February 29th against the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-2 victory where Woll stopped 30 of 32 shots. Keefe has only given Woll three starts since returning, with Woll allowing four goals in two out of the three games - both against the Bruins.

While Woll hasn't exactly earned himself the extra starts with his recent play, the young rookie should have build a decent rapport with his head coach from his work earlier in the season. It would be wise of Keefe to split the starts between the two and ride the hotter goalie into the playoffs. It is, admittedly, tough to take Samsonov out with how well he has played, but with a loss against Carolina on Saturday, many had felt as though the time was right to get Woll back in the net. The fact that Keefe opted to go with Samsonov yet again is a bit of a concern, though, with Woll already having missed over 2 months of action.

Toronto has sixteen games left on the schedule, with three back-to-backs upcoming. Both goalies will get their opportunity to shine, but for Woll, you have to be a little concerned with how much he's been sitting of late. Goalies need to get into a rhythm to have success, so with the Leafs sitting the young netminder so often, it's certainly not ideal for his development or his confidence.
March 19   |   647 answers
Questionable decision from Sheldon Keefe raising some concerns in net in Toronto

If the playoffs started today, who would you be more comfortable with as the starter?

Samsonov38359.2 %
Woll20732 %
Jones578.8 %
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