Samsonov Arbitration Verdict Will Not Help Maple Leafs

It appears as though the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ilya Samsonov could not settle on a contract and the arbitration award will be revealed by late afternoon on Sunday, July 23, per James Mirtle. While the Maple Leafs came in on the lower end of $2 million AAV, Samsonov thought he deserved $4.9 million AAV after seeing what some of the other goaltenders around the league were being paid.

Martin Biron, a former goalie in the NHL, spoke on TSN about the Samsonov situation, noting that "there's 26 active goaltenders that are going to make over $4 million next year and Samsonov is better than probably half of those guys." While the Maple Leafs are in a cap crunch, they are the ones that put themselves in that position by failing to get a deal done sooner and signing a number of players.

Samsonov is young, but he proved that he was very much worth the risk last season and was the Maple Leafs' number one goalie throughout the year. He went 27-10-5 last season with a .919 save percentage and 2.33 goal against average. Over 67 percent of his starts were quality starts, ranking him with the very best in the league, and he finished with a 17.4 goals saved above expected. That was one heck of a contract year and with options like Matt Murray and Joseph Woll, Samsonov will be heavily leaned on.

Some might think Samsonov came in a little high and the Maple Leafs definitely came in very low. It would make sense for Samsonov to be rewarded with $4 million+, but could very likely get just under that. If he performs very well again, the Maple Leafs will be forced to then pay him what he deserves. Not only will the number the Maple Leafs came in at potentially hurt the relationship, they will have to go through a contract process again next summer without arbitration to settle things.

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