Kyle Dubas Has a Near Impossible Decision to Make This Off-Season

Published March 27, 2023 at 4:13 PM

The goaltending situation in Toronto has consistently been scrutinized, as with most aspects of Canada's hockey capital.

With a star-studded offense featuring highly-paid players like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, accounting for a $40.4 million AAV cap hit, and Morgan Rielly at $7.5 million AAV, building a well-rounded team, including solid goaltending, has been challenging.

Maple Leafs Doomed To Choose Between Samsonov And Murray

Year after year, the Leafs have made cost-effective depth acquisitions, fielding strong teams that have exited the playoffs due to unreliable goaltending. Freddie Andersen, Petr Mrazek, and Jack Campbell didn't work. They traded for Matt Murray and signed Ilya Samsonov on a one-year prove-it deal. Although they show promise, it's unclear if this duo will succeed.

Murray, contracted for one more season at $4.687 million AAV, has displayed moments of brilliance, reminiscent of his back-to-back Cups with the Penguins, but also poor performances that led to his departure from Pittsburgh and Ottawa stint. Allowing 4 goals in 7 of his last 8 games is less than ideal, and his health remains a significant concern.

Samsonov, younger and potentially cheaper than Murray, is an intriguing option. However, with the emergence of Joseph Woll, the Leafs may need to revisit their goaltending strategy this summer. Despite Samsonov outperforming Murray this season, Woll's rise complicates the situation.

Woll signed a three-year extension in February, earning the league minimum while delivering solid goaltending. The only catch is that he will no longer be waiver-exempt, so the Leafs may need to part ways with either Murray or Samsonov.

Woll's record of 3-1-0, with only 8 goals allowed, a save percentage of .934, and a 2.03 GAA, demonstrates his ability to not only compete but excel at the NHL level, albeit in limited appearances.

The Leafs may feel more comfortable with Samsonov than Murray, and trading either goalie in the off-season shouldn't be too difficult given Murray's one-year contract and Samsonov's RFA status.

The playoffs will ultimately dictate Toronto's direction, but Woll has impressively played his way into the lineup and given the Leafs food for thought – especially considering his league minimum salary.

As reported by Maple Leafs Insider - Leafs to trade one of their goalies this summer
March 27   |   96 answers
Kyle Dubas Has a Near Impossible Decision to Make This Off-Season

Who do you prefer?

Samsonov7881.3 %
Murray1818.8 %
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