NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports on Leafs' plans for Ilya Samsonov
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NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports on Leafs' plans for Ilya Samsonov

The Russian goaltender just earned his first win since December 9th.



In case you missed it this past weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs earned themselves a much needed victory over the Seattle Kraken. The victory was needed not only for team morale, but especially for goaltender Ilya Samsonov's sake. 

The Russian netminder hadn't won an NHL game since December 9th and had spent the past month and a half up and down the NHL's roller coaster. He was thrown on waivers, he was dumped onto the AHL's Toronto Marlies and then trotted out in front of the media to explain his mental struggles this season. For him to get back between the pipes and win a game for the Leafs was a real step forward for both him and for the team.

Now the question is... what's next for Samsonov and the Leafs?

Joseph Woll is still on the injured reserve and veteran Martin Jones' play has fallen off as of late. There was talk that the Leafs were trying to move off of Samsonov earlier this season, but now that talk seems to have died down.

The 26 year old netminder has a 3.69 goals against and a .866 save percentage in 17 games with the Leafs this season.

On his latest 32 Thoughts podcast for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that the team's plan for Samsonov is to give him the run of the crease for a bit and see how he handles things.

"All of a sudden they have a decision to make. Martin Jones... he looks like he's worn down a bit. I gotta think Samsonov gets the net. He had a big win on Sunday night in Seattle. I hesitate to proclaim that he's back, but that's a big win."

- Elliotte Friedman

Friedman would go on to explain that Samsonov is likely to get the start for the Leafs' back to back games against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night and Saturday night. I can't think of a better test of both the Leafs' and Samsonov's mental mettle than to face the Jets, one of the league's best teams, in back to back situations. How the team and how Samsonov respond to the challenge will be very telling for the balance of their season. 


Source: Elliotte Friedman