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Leafs Banking On New Element To Make A Difference


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Tyler Ball
August 17, 2023  (12:51)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have had an active offseason. They hired a new General Manager Brad Treliving and brought in several free agents. Even with all of the additions some familiar question marks still remain around the roster.

Is Samsonov The Answer In Net?

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Ilya Samsonov spent the 2022-23 season as the starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs. While he had a fantastic season with the Leafs compiling a 2.33 goals-against average and a 0.919 save percentage his career averages are much less stellar. This leads to the question of whether the 26-year-old goaltender can repeat the performance he gave the Leafs last season. He is also only on a one-year deal so if he is able to reproduce his results from last season how much will his price continue to rise?

Do The Leafs Finally Have Enough Grit?

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The biggest discussion around the Leafs each summer is whether or not they have enough grit to succeed in the playoffs. Many fans want more grit and toughness in the lineup each year after another failed playoff run. This offseason Brad Treliving had the same thoughts as the fan base adding players like Tyler Bertuzzi, Ryan Reaves, and Max Domi. These players have a reputation for being tough and annoying to play against.
When asked about these additions and why they mean to the lineup Treliving had this to say:
«As much as the game's changed, some things have never changed,» Treliving said according to Sportsnet's Luke Fox. «At the most important times, the rink shrinks. There's no space. You need courage. And we wanted to add players like that.»

While Treliving does not use the word grit and toughness specifically the principles behind what he was looking for match up.

Can The Young Guys Come Through

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The Toronto Maple Leafs in recent years have had a lack of young depth in their lineup during their playoff runs. Michael Bunting is one of the few players in recent memory that came up and produced for the Leafs in his first couple of seasons. This year the Leafs have their best chance in a long time to have several young players contribute.
Matthew Knies came on at the end of last season and looked good in his small NHL sample size. In 3 regular season games with the Leafs Knies registered an assist. Then in the playoffs, he really shined with 4 points in 7 total games. He will likely end up on the Leafs' roster the entire season and get multiple opportunities in the top six.
Nick Robertson is a player with a lot of potential who has been clouded by injuries. He has only played 31 total NHL games. In his time in the AHL Robertson has shined when healthy. He will likely start back in the AHL but could be a key contributor to the depth of the Leafs by the middle of the year.
Then of course there is the presumed backup for the Maple Leafs Joseph Woll. He like Robertson has a small NHL sample size of only 7 regular season games. But his season with the Marlies was fantastic leading them to the playoffs. He will likely need to step up and play well to stabilize the goaltending tandem of the Leafs if Samsonov struggles.
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Leafs Banking On New Element To Make A Difference

Which player will be the most impactful for the Leafs this season?

Ilya Samsonov20318.8 %
Matthew Knies25323.4 %
Max Domi18517.1 %
Tyler Bertuzzi43940.6 %
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