Maple Leafs Reveal Surprising Plans For Samsonov After Clearing Waivers

Ilya Samsonov has officially cleared waivers and is now on the roster of the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. But in a somewhat surprising revelation, the Maple Leafs and head coach Sheldon Keefe have revealed that they have no intention of having Samsonov actually play for their farm club.

Instead, he’ll  remain in Toronto and continue to work with coaches on trying to get him back to where he needs to be.

"It's just a continuation of what's been happening here," Keefe explained, per David Alter of The Hockey News. "But it's removing him from the situation to focus solely on himself and his game."

The final straw for Samsonov (and the Leafs management) was when the beleaguered netminder surrendered 6 goals in 21 shots in a 6-5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes this past Friday. He was placed on waivers the next day. 

“To me, he’s a good goalie and played a lot of good hockey and we have to do all we can to try and get him back,” added Keefe.

Last season, as the Leafs’ No. 1 backstop, he posted a very solid 2.33 goals against and a .919 save percentage.

The Leafs have called up sizeable (6’7”, 222 pounds) goaltending prospect Dennis Hildeby from the Marlies to join them on their current road trip out West, and there’s a good chance he makes his NHL debut on the trip. 

The ‘Hildebeast’, as he’s aptly nicknamed, has posted an impressive 2.20 goals against and .919 save percentage this season with the Marlies.

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports