- Samsonov and the Maple Leafs went to an arbitration hearing.
- Samsonov was only eligible for a one-year award given his age and pending UFA status in 2024.
- The 26-year-old went 27-10-5 in 2022-23, with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
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What to do with the contract
This is a fair deal for both one of the top 10 goaltenders in the NHL last season (at least based on his .919 save percentage) and the Leafs. The one-year term brings Samsonov to unrestricted free agency, but it also mitigates some risk to the Leafs.
It could be argued that Samsonov was the team’s most valuable player for long stretches last season, his first in Toronto. With that in mind, Samsonov will be the presumed No. 1 goalie for the Leafs going into the season. Throughout his career, Samsonov had yet to reach his projected highs when he was selected in the first round of the 2015 draft. Samsonov banked on himself with a one-year deal in Toronto and this deal feels like a reflection of his career-best 2022-23 campaign, but also of the fact that he hasn’t necessarily built a track record of success.
Still, the fact that the arbitrator met in the middle of the two teams’ submissions — a $2.4 million maximum cap proposed by the Leafs and a $4.9 million maximum cap proposed by the player — isn’t surprising. — kloke
What are the expectations for Samsonov next season?
Samsonov’s .919 save percentage was commendable, but it’s worth noting that he racked up that number in just 42 games. His TOI of 2475:36 for the season ranked him 23rd in the league among goaltenders after the Leafs began the season hoping to form a true tandem. With matt murray out of the picture and Joseph Woll still learning the ropes like a NHL goaltender after an impressive and upstart season, Samsonov should be expected to hold his own as the Leafs’ undisputed No. 1.
More games will mean more wear and tear on your body. Samsonov suffered two crucial injuries last season: a knee injury in November and a neck injury that sidelined him for the finale of the Leafs’ second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. panthers. Goalie injuries are often difficult to control, but a healthy Samsonov could boost the Leafs’ chances of winning the Atlantic Division nonetheless. — kloke
(Photo: John E. Sokolowski/USA Today)