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Tavares Excited About Samsonov’s Return to Maple Leafs Roster

It seems the Toronto Maple Leafs team is not thinking much about Ilya Samsonov’s past struggles. If not, what are they thinking?

Not everyone is worried about whether struggling goalie Ilya Samsonov can still cut the mustard in the crease anymore. It seems that his teammates on the Toronto Maple Leafs see him as a friend and partner in battle more than just a goalie who struggles. In an interview yesterday, when asked about the news that goalie Ilya Samsonov is back to practice, team captain John Tavares shared his excitement with the reporter. He couldn’t be more thrilled that his teammate returned.

Samsonov was called up from AHL Toronto Marlies on Wednesday. Although he faced his share of challenges in the net this season, he gets no grief from his teammates. In truth, his return to the big club generated positive vibes within the team.

Related: 3 Things to Know About Nylander’s Record-Breaking Maple Leafs Extension

Samsonov’s Recent Trip Included Waivers and Rehab

Samsonov’s journey back to the Maple Leafs has been more than interesting. It started when the Maple Leafs waived him on December 31. When he passed through without being claimed, they sent him to the AHL. However, when away from the team, he didn’t stop a single puck with the Marlies. Instead, he simply worked out with his goalie coach to practice and get his technique and his “head” back in shape.

Ilya Samsonov of the Maple Leafs is facing possible demotion to AHL

Outside of the team, Samsonov’s struggles with the Maple Leafs this season have been bandied about widely. While he put up what seems to be an okay 5-2-6 record, his 3.94 goals against average (GAA), and .862 save percentage in 15 games give a better indication of what his season has been like.

Now the issue is what role he’ll have with the team moving forward. In truth, there is uncertainty about whether he can improve his play.

Tavares, Representing His Team, Simply Wants a Capable Samsonov to Return

For me, listening to Tavares talk during the interview, there’s no worry about Samsonov’s performance for now. Tavares remains optimistic about Samsonov’s potential impact. In his comments shared below, he talks of his excitement about having Samsonov back. He highlighted the goalie’s contributions to the team. He also shared hope that Samsonov rediscovers his form and becomes a game-changer.

As Tavares noted in the video, he wants Samsonov to “come back and be a difference-maker as he has been for us in his time here.” Tavares added, “Anytime you get back with the group, say from an injury or whatever it may be, but certainly in a situation like this, you’re excited. Just want to get back to work and play at the level that you want to be. So yeah, we think the world of him, we love him as a teammate, and it’s just great to see him back out there.”

The Bottom Line Is That Teammates Are Also Friends and That Matters on This Maple Leafs Team

Tavares’ words show that the Maple Leafs have confidence in Samsonov’s abilities. Instead of fretting and stewing about his topping the puck, the team eagerly wants to see him contribute positively to the team once again.

Related: Maple Leafs Can Cut Bait, Prioritize Flexibility Post Nylander Deal



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