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What Happens to Matt Murray & Joseph Woll Next Season?

After losing in Round 2, the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie situation is up in the air. What happens to Matt Murray and Joseph Woll next year?

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.

Matt Murray early in his Maple Leafs season.

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.

Joseph Woll Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender
Joseph Woll, rookie Maple Leafs goalie

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

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