To say that that the expectations bar was set low for Leafs goaltending coming into this season is a bit of an understatement. The narrative was that Matt Murray was an oft-injured, borderline AHL goaltender on a terrible contract. To some extent, I personally took the bait on that, hook, line, and sinker.
For Ilya Samsonov it was his generally underwhelming record to date (as a 25 year old) with the Capitals and if Washington, the team that knows him best, was ready to walk away from him that he couldn’t be that good.
Both Samsonov and Murray have proven their critics wrong in their small (somewhat injury plagued) samples and while the memory of small samples of Jack Campbell is still fresh in the heads of Leafs fans, there is something particularly appealing about Samsonov as the long term option for the Leafs in net and that is his age.
Ilya Samsonov being at the top of the league in most major goaltending stats (albeit through 11 games played) is damned encouraging and the fact that he’s doing it at an age when most goaltenders begin to hit their stride certainly inspires some hope that this could be who he is as a goaltender. The Leafs having the potential to look up a consistent netminder for the prime of their career is something the organization hasn’t really accomplished in a long time. Toronto has been great at bringing in established goaltenders to have significant multi-year success stories for the …
Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation