The Toronto Maple Leafs have several key players who will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2022-23 season. That means they will have to make some important decisions about their future roster in the coming months.
Why Consider This Question Now?
Any NHL team that hopes to have continuous success has two jobs, and they must be done simultaneously. First, the Maple Leafs are trying to put together a competitive roster for the upcoming 2022-23 playoffs.
Second, the team is also considering its salary cap situation and planning for the future. These decisions can be a challenging balancing act, but both are crucial for the long-term success of the team.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Woll, Marner, Liljegren & Dubas
What About Ilya Samsonov?
Ilya Samsonov’s performance this season has probably earned him a significant pay raise during the offseason. He’s had his ups and downs; but, all things considered, he has been one of the top goalies in the NHL this season. If he were to hit the free agent market he would be in high demand.
Obviously, the big question is where Samsonov’s next contract be. You’d have to think the Maple Leafs would love to re-sign him. In fact, you would think signing Samsonov would be a done deal. However, the team will have to weigh the cost of re-signing Samsonov against their salary cap situation and their other roster needs.
If they decide to re-sign him, it could impact their ability to address other areas of need on the team. On the other hand, if they don’t re-sign him, they’ll need to find a replacement for him. What happens with the team’s goalies will be an interesting situation for fans to watch unfold.
These decisions made will have a major impact on the Maple Leafs’ goalie situation for the 2023-24 season and beyond. Regardless of the outcome, the Maple Leafs will need to make a decision. And, that decision might have a lasting impact on the team’s success in the coming years.
The Maple Leafs Have several Goalie Options
The Maple Leafs have several goalie options. These include veteran Matt Murray as well as several young goalies in their system. Murray’s situation is complex because he’s great when he’s healthy, but he seems to have been injured more than he’s been healthy this season.
That complicates matters. If the Maple Leafs see Samsonov as their go-to goalie and act on that belief for next season by re-signing him, will they choose to retain Murray? Or, will they move him? One way or another, the team will need to find a backup goalie who can handle the role. Murray’s injury history, both this season and in the past, is an issue.
Related: Does Garland for Engvall Make Sense for the Maple Leafs?
Considering the Young Goalies in the Maple Leafs System
The Maple Leafs have several young goalies in the system. However, it’s unlikely any of them will be ready to step into a starting role next season. Joseph Woll and Erik Kallgren are both young goalies with potential, but they have limited NHL experience. It is too early to say if they’ll be able to handle the pressure of being a starting goalie in the NHL.lot to consider.
Kallgren has shown that he can be a capable backup in the NHL, but relying on him as the sole backup to Samsonov might be a risky move. Kallgren’s limited experience makes it possible that he might struggle to adjust to the increased workload and pressure of being a full-time NHL backup.
Woll’s strong play in the AHL this season gives the team another option for a backup. However, it will be important for him to continue to perform well if he does get an opportunity to play in the NHL. That will likely be in two days because he’s likely to see action at home in the back-to-back game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Next Season’s Goalie Choices Remain in Flux
The team’s goalie decisions about Murray and Samsonov will likely come down to several factors, including performance, salary cap considerations, and the team’s overall needs. Ultimately, the goal for the Maple Leafs will be to put together the best combination of goalies to help them succeed on the ice.
The Maple Leafs have several options when it comes to their goaltending situation beyond this season, and it will be interesting to see how things unfold.
Related: FOUR FIXES THAT COULD HELP THE MAPLE LEAFS WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS
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