Samsonov chosen as the Leafs' starting goalie for the playoffs?
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Samsonov chosen as the Leafs' starting goalie for the playoffs?

How do we feel about this, Leafs fans?



Don't look now but the Toronto Maple Leafs now officially have fewer than 10 games to sort themselves out before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

For head coach Sheldon Keefe, he'll be spending the next 9 games zeroing in on his roster and making some difficult decisions. Perhaps the biggest decision Keefe makes though is who gets the start in goal? Does Keefe go with Ilya Samsonov, Joseph Woll or perhaps even Matt Murray for the post-season?

Putting all of the health issues aside with Murray, it seems unlikely that he'll be back in the fold, right? Even if he's medically cleared to return to action, I can't see the Leafs wanting to throw him to the wolves in a first round playoff match. So... let's just assume that Keefe is looking at either Samsov or Woll for the job.

More from Leafs insider Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet and The Toronto Sun:

With 11 games left in the regular season, the question of who starts in net for Game 1 of the playoffs remains very much open-ended. And that’s a problem.

Part of that comes down to health and reliability. While Woll missed 85 days with a high-ankle sprain this season, Samsonov has shown signs of wear and tear of late.

It’s one thing to play well. It’s another to believe in a goaltender’s durability and reliability when the games really count. A big part of becoming a playoff hero is not disappearing when the team needs you most. That may be harsh when a player can’t control injuries, but a team doesn’t care if you can’t be counted on — they will simply move on to the next in line.

- Nick Kypreos

I've got to say... this might be the first time in my life I've agreed with Nick Kypreos.

He's bang on in his assessment of the situation, he stops just short of calling out Samsonov and/or Woll, however. To me, it's up to one of these goaltenders to grab the bull by the horns over the next two weeks.

Today though, Keefe made a very clear statement by naming Samsonov the starter for tonight's potential playoff preview against the Florida Panthers.

Check it out:

To me, it looks like Keefe has chosen his man. Now it's up to Samsonov to simply keep the job.

Source: Nick Kypreos