Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov reveals mental struggles in heartbreaking admission

Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov reveals mental struggles in heartbreaking admission

Ever since Joseph Woll took over…



The Toronto Maple Leafs have been trusting goalie Joseph Woll with the team’s top spot instead of Ilya Samsonov. The American netminder is coming off two straight stellar outings and is being chosen over Samsonov. The Russian goaltender is struggling with this new reality and admitted to Jonas Siegel on Friday how challenging it has been mentally for him this past week since he was pulled in Saturday’s first-period against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“If I’m saying I feel great, it’s not true. I feel (like) shit … (But) I’m a guy who will be fighting through this. I will be fighting every day.”

NHL players have been more and more open to discuss mental health issues in recent years, and so Samsonov is not the first - or the last - to do so. However, the pressure he is under has to be tough seeing that Woll’s NHL resume is more than solid despite having played 18 games (including playoffs). Woll has has a goals-against average of 2.24 and a save percentage of .929. With Samsonov stumbling out of the gates this season, he’s lost the spot to the 25-year-old goalie…

The surgence of Woll has even gotten fans and pundits wondering if Samsonov could even land on the trade block in Toronto. It comes down to the contract situation as Samsonov is an unrestricted free agent following 2023-24 who was awarded a one-year, $3.55 million contract by an arbitrator this summer. As for Woll, he is under contract for another season at a minuscule $766K cap hit. Having a starter who makes that little money next year could be very interesting for the Maple Leafs and general manager Brad Treliving…

Samsonov is 2-1-0 this season but his save percentage is down to .831., but he is working, spending a lot of time working with goaltending coach Curtis Sanford at practice lately.

At the moment, Samsonov is on the verge of losing the net to Woll, but he could use this as extra motivation to regain the cage and come back as the Maple Leafs’ starter. He gets a chance on Saturday when the Leafs face the Nashville Predators as he got the nod from head coach Sheldon Keefe. 

"It’s a big competition for me and we need to push each other. We’re ready. We’re both ready for this."

Let’s see if his performance over the weekend gets him back on top. 

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Source: Jonas Siegel