Linus Ullmark Criticizes Leafs' Decision to Stick with Ilya Samsonov in Series

Marvin Azrak
June 21, 2024  (2:47 PM)

Ilya Samsonov of the Toronto Maple Leafs making a save
Photo credit: Tsn

For the third time in the last 13 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs season ended with a Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

It marked their seventh first-round exit out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past eight seasons.
This year, they nearly salvaged a 3-1 series deficit but ultimately fell short with a 2-1 overtime loss in the decider. Their biggest problem in that series was goaltending.
In an interview on Leafs Morning Take with Nick Alberga and Carter Hutton, Bruins' Linus Ullmark reflected on the series against the Maple Leafs, particularly focusing on the goaltending decisions. Ullmark expressed surprise at the Leafs' commitment to Ilya Samsonov as their starting goaltender.
I was surprised that they kept Samsonov in for that many games against us in the playoffs. Every time we played the Leafs and Woll was in net, it felt like more of a challenge. Just watching him, it looked like he was in much more control of the situation.
Samsonov played in Games 1, 2, 3, and parts of 4 before being pulled after allowing three goals on 17 shots. He returned for Game 7 after Joseph Woll was injured, stopping 30 of 32 shots. For the playoffs, Samsonov had a 1-3-1 record with a 3.01 goals against average and a .896 save percentage.
Ullmark, like Samsonov, faced a similar situation, appearing only in Game 2 and stopping 30 of 33 shots in a 3-2 Toronto victory before being sidelined due to the stellar play of Jeremy Swayman. The Bruins' decision to ride the hot goaltender earlier than the Leafs proved to be a major factor in the series' outcome.
Conversely, Ullmark had positive remarks about Woll, who seems on the verge of a breakout if he can stay healthy.
He's just like every young goaltender nowadays, he's technically sound. The only thing that might stop him is the mental game, which comes down to experience. But he's come a long way in a short time and looks terrific. That's my honest opinion; he looks like a really good goaltender.