Ilya Samsonov struggled Wednesday against Dallas
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Sportsnet and TSN analysts raise some shocking questions about Ilya Samsonov

Published February 10, 2024 at 11:11
BY RYAN SMITHERAM
Since returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs' lineup last month, goaltender Ilya Samsonov has, for the most part, looked like last year's version of himself. Samsonov is 4-2-0 in his six starts since returning, however, on Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars, it was not a particularly good game for him. Not only did he give up 4 goals on 31 shots and post a .870 save percentage, but he looked to be sliding around far more than he had in his previous 4 starts. Yesterday on "The Real Kyper and Bourne" Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne discussed how they felt about Samsonov and if he has done enough to regain the Leafs net full-time.

"I had someone text me during that game Wednesday night that this is the end of the road for Samsonov. It was that tenuous," said Bourne as he and Kypreos went back and forth. "One goes through his glove, one goes through his arm hole.... Starts are going to get hard to come by. If you give Jones the start Saturday night, how far are you from Woll coming back?.. Samsonov's window to take the crease while Woll was hurt is just about closed and so you're looking at a Woll/Jones pairing, unless something changes leading up to the deadline."

Kypreos weighed in with his thoughts and made a very bold statement about who the Leafs should start against Ottawa tonight and why.

"There was a lot of bad Sammy Wednesday... This is not about giving him credit for a good two or three weeks. This is about where are they going here?.. I'd start by not giving him tomorrow night's game. Based on what I saw Wednesday, I'd like him to reset again and make sure that whatever you've gained in the last month, isn't lost with a bad start Saturday night. I'd go to Martin Jones Saturday night and let him to kind of reset off of a fortunate win for him, without feeling like you're going to lose it all with a bad start Saturday night."




Later in the day, on TSN's "OverDrive" Mike Johnson shared the same sentiment and does not believe Samsonov has done enough or played consistently enough to be handed the number one job outright.

"I would not concede the net to Samsonov as a forgone conclusion," said Johnson. "Against Dallas, they won 5-4. Was he really good that game? Was he locked in?.. It didn't feel like that to me when I watched him play so I would say no. It's a day-by-day thing for him and the Toronto Maple Leafs until Woll gets back and, fingers crossed, he eliminates this question of something they have to think about. Even when he makes the saves, it's still a work in progress with him. He doesn't give me full confidence he will stop all the shots you think he probably should. Until I get that feeling that he will and he in fact does, then no.

I'm delighted for him. It's really been something that he's come back and played better. I can't pretend that he wasn't where he was a month ago, three weeks ago. I am sort of game by game. I'm happy I have the option to play him, but I'm not giving it to him. No chance."


There has been no decision yet from Sheldon Keefe as to who will start tonight against the Ottawa Senators, but if the Leafs want Samsonov to remain in a good place mentally, it would be best if they give him a night off to reset as Kypreos said. It is not worth the risk to put Samsonov back in the net after a sub-par game Wednesday - especially against a Senators team that always gives the Leafs trouble.
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10 February   |   648 answers
Sportsnet and TSN analysts raise some shocking questions about Ilya Samsonov

Is Ilya Samsonov even a starting goalie on any NHL team?

Yes25238.9 %
No39661.1 %
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