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It’s Joseph Woll’s Time to Prove Himself for Maple Leafs

Now that Matt Murray is on the Toronto Maple Leafs LTIR, it’s Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov time. Can Woll prove himself this season?

The 2023-24 NHL season is approaching. Today, the Toronto Maple Leafs settled the goalie Matt Murray situation for the next season by announcing that Murray would spend the year on the LTIR (long-term injured reserve). Now, with Ilya Samsonov’s arbitration hearing in the books and his one-year deal signed, it looks as if the team has settled its goalie situation – at least for the start of the season.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Reaves, Samsonov, Murray & Sparks

The Two Maple Leafs Goalies Are Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll

It seems to be settled, at least for the time being. Joseph Woll will be Samsonov’s backup. As the dust has settled, the Maple Leafs are not in a bad spot – salary-cap-wise – with their goalies. Samsonov is locked in a $3.55 million for one season. Woll is locked in at $766,667. If they turn out to be a dynamic duo, it’s a great price to pay for a team’s starting goalie and its backup.

The Hockey Writers Maple Leafs Lounge

In this episode of The Hockey Writers Maple Leafs Lounge, writers Peter Baracchini and Jim Parsons discuss Woll’s potential and the chances of him proving his worth at the highest level of the game.

Woll Has Had a Promising NHL Start

Woll’s NHL debut over the last two seasons has been nothing short of impressive. He filling in for injured netminders Jack Campbell two seasons ago and Samsonov last season. In both seasons, he showed remarkable composure and skill.

In seven games last season, Woll put up a record of 6-1-0. He also put up an outstanding 0.932 save percentage and a 2.16 goals-against average. Even during the playoffs, he played well. In high-pressure situations, he didn’t blink. That success helped solidified his potential as a reliable goalie for the Maple Leafs.

Woll Has a Bright Future

Now that we know Murray will not be playing this season, Woll has a golden chance to grab the backup role and keep it. In the video, Parsons predicts that Woll will likely play around 25 to 30 games in the upcoming season.

That should give him a chance to prove himself at the NHL level. The Maple Leafs’ front office is placing its trust in Woll, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t. If he continues as he’s played, the organization will come to trust that he can handle the backup position well.

Related: Samsonov & Woll: A Steal of a Deal for the Maple Leafs

So Far, Woll Has Had a Small Sample Size

Although Woll’s NHL experience is limited to just a few games, the Maple Leafs are betting on his potential. In hockey, sometimes small sample sizes are all that’s needed to identify a player’s capabilities. For Woll, it’s how he looks. He’s calm and doesn’t ever get rattled or even “herky-jerky” in the crease.

Both Woll’s numbers and his demeanor in the crease show that he’s a promising goalie. It also helps that the team seems to love playing in front of him. Their solid team defense helps him play better. Now both the organization and the fans get to see how well Woll can maintain that consistent level of play over an extended period of time.

There’s a Lesson in Stuart Skinner’s Oilers’ Success Story

The Maple Leafs are not alone in having to trust young goalies. It happens regularly. In some ways, the circumstance seems to dictate that there’s really no other choice.

As Parsons, who covers the Edmonton Oilers for The Hockey Writers, points out, Stuart Skinner was in the same boat. And, he’s done well. The Oilers had to trust Skinner. They gave him the chance to prove himself. And, he did.

Skinner serves as an example of how Woll’s small sample sizes can indicate true potential.

The Bottom Line

Woll comes into the 2023-24 season a lot of expectations on his shoulders. As Samsonov’s backup, he has a chance to make a lasting impression on the Maple Leafs fans.

The team bet on his abilities; and, as a result, Woll starts his NHL journey this coming season. Can he prove himself to be a capable and reliable goaltender at the NHL level? As the season unfolds, the fans will watch to see if Woll grabs his chance and runs with it.

Who knows? Maple Leafs fans could watch the start of the team’s goalies for the next several seasons.

Related: Maple Leafs Ryan Reaves: Both a Character and a Champion



  1. Pingback: Matt Murray LTIR Assignment Raises Cap Circumvention Concerns

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