As the Toronto Maple Leafs head into the 2023-24 offseason, it will be interesting to see what decisions the organization makes about who the team’s goalies should be. I, for one, believe that Ilya Samsonov played well enough for the team.
In regard to his future status in Toronto, I have two hopes. First, I hope the organization seeks to re-sign the 26-year-old Russian goalie. Second, I hope he chooses to re-sign with the team for a reasonable salary – perhaps something just north of the $2.5 million mark.
In this post, I’m going to assume that such a deal can and will be made. So, for now, I’ll consider the status of the other two goalies – the veteran Matt Murray and the youngster Joseph Woll. Where will each of them be next season?
Related: Maple Leafs Lose & Postseason Run Is Over: Now What Happens?
After Samsonov, What Happens with Matt Murray and Joseph Woll?
The performances of goalies Woll and Murray have sparked discussions about what their future roles might be with the team. Woll has shown promise and has also made a strong case for a full-time roster spot for the 2023-24 season. Murray’s struggles and injury concerns have raised questions about whether he might even have a future with the organization.
Woll’s Rise to Success and Murray’s Injury Setbacks
Woll was impressive during the 2022-23 season, playing for both the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. In the NHL, Woll played seven games, logging a solid goals-against average of 2.16 and an impressive save percentage of 0.932. In the AHL, Woll played 21 games for the Marlies, with a goals-against-average of 2.37 and a save percentage of 0.927.
During the 2022-23 postseason, Woll played four games for the Maple Leafs. Even in the tougher postseason, he showcased his composure and skill. He posted a goals-against-average of 2.43 and a solid save percentage of 0.915.
Indeed, Woll’s postseason performance highlighted his ability to step up in high-pressure situations. The bottom line is that he played well when he was asked to do so. While he wasn’t able to lead his team to a Round 2 series victory, he was calm in the crease and kept his team in games. It was a lot to ask him to perform well under pressure, but he did just that.
In contrast, Murray’s tenure with the Maple Leafs has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. Despite initial hopes of a season where he redeemed himself from past failures with the Ottawa Senators, his slow start and recurring injuries hindered his success.
Many fans were rooting for a bounce-back season for Murray. However, he was up and down, even when he could play. Those recent performances have not done enough to solidify his future position with the team.
Related: Somehow this Maple Leafs Mess Seems So Much Worse
What’s Likely to Happen with Woll Next Season?
Looking ahead, it’s tough not to consider Woll’s impressive showings and Murray’s setbacks. It appears likely that Woll will assume the role of (at least) backup goaltender for the upcoming season. His consistent play, improved rebound control, and ability to track the puck all contribute to his rise on the organization’s depth chart.
Woll’s development has been impressive. From dominating in the AHL to showcasing his skills in the NHL’s postseason, he’s consistently shown growth and improvement. While he’s expected to be the team’s backup next season, he could challenge for a starting position.
What’s Likely to Happen with Murray Next Season?
However, the future remains uncertain regarding Murray’s injury situation and his role within the team. Considering Murray’s uncertain status, it almost seems that it’s a given that the Maple Leafs will try to trade him.
While it’s unclear whether Murray’s injury situation would allow him to be placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), his healthy presence as a backup would present a challenge for the team in terms of salary cap management. If the team can find a potential trade option, that might become the most viable choice for the organization.
The Bottom Line
Look for the Maple Leafs to explore trade options and move Murray. That seems the best way to manage the team’s salary cap more effectively. Murray’s contract is simply too big a hit for the team.
However, Woll’s future looks promising. He has the potential to grow to have a more solid place in the team’s future. That future could give the team optimism for its goaltending depth chart for many seasons to come.
Related: Maple Leafs Face Two Critical Offseason Issues
Leave a Reply
Calgary Flames/ 19 hours ago
Top Candidates For Flames Open GM Job Starting to Surface
A handful of names are starting to pop up in connection with the vacant...
NHL News/ 20 hours ago
Insider Hints Hard Feelings Exist Between Ryan Reynolds and NHL
After news Ryan Reynolds withdrew from a bid to buy the Ottawa Senators, it...
New Jersey Devils/ 3 days ago
Jesper Bratt Expects To Get Contract Done With Devils
Jesper Bratt says he's confident a deal will get done to keep him with...
NHL News/ 3 days ago
Keith Jones Says Flyers Job Offer Came Out of Nowhere
Keith Jones discussed how the opportunity to become the President of the Philadelphia Flyers...
Edmonton Oilers/ 4 days ago
Oilers Must Keep Cool Going Into Game 5 vs Golden Knights
If the Edmonton Oilers want to take control of their series against Vegas, they...
NHL News/ 5 days ago
Did Flyers Make a Mistake Hiring In-House for President and GM?
Keith Jones has been hired by the Flyers as the team's new President, while...
Edmonton Oilers/ 5 days ago
Pietrangelo to Have Hearing w/ NHL DoPS for Slash on Draisaitl
Alex Pietrangelo has a hearing with the NHL DoPS for his slash on Leon...
NHL News/ 5 days ago
Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 2-1 Game 4 Win vs Panthers
On Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back to win Game 4 of...
NHL News/ 6 days ago
Agent Says Kuznetsov “Not Interested in Anything” Playing for Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov has apparently lost his spark playing for the Washington Capitals. Sounds like...
Boston Bruins/ 7 days ago
Bruins Say Roster Will Look Different Next Season
Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins says the team will look different next season...
Pingback: What 3 Steps Should the Maple Leafs Take Next to Fix The Team?