Insider reveals Ilya Samsonov's relationship with the Leafs

Has the relationship soured?



The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Ilya Samsonov went to salary arbitration after being unable to come to an agreement on a new deal; the Russian native would eventually be awarded a one year, $3.55 million deal. 

There have been several examples in the past of players going to salary arbitration and it fracturing their relationship with the team, but thankfully for the Maple Leafs, this does not appear to be the case with Samsonov. 

According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, both Samsonov and the Leafs were able to avoid any bitterness between the two sides thanks to the professionalism of new Leafs general manager Brad Treliving throughout the entire process. 

He writes:

"As for Samsonov, while I was a little surprised the case reached arbitration, the number they ended up landing on — $3.55 million for one year — was totally reasonable.

The one downside to having an arbitration hearing in order to try and squeeze a key player, like your starting goalie, is the cases can create bad blood between player and team.

I talked to some folks who were involved in the Samsonov process, and they spoke highly of how Treliving handled the situation as a new GM coming in who doesn’t have a relationship with the player.

There was “nothing out of bounds,” said a source with knowledge of how the arbitration hearing went. “And Brad is very professional.”

Both sides, to my understanding, were fine with the ultimate award."

However, Mirtle closed out his recent column with this prediction: 

"As a result, short term makes a lot of sense. But if Samsonov has another season like last year, his cap hit is going to start with a five the next time around."

What kind of season do you see Samsonov enjoying in 2023-24 in his second year with the Maple Leafs? 

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Source: The Athletic