Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov making a save
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Major Goaltending Controversy Develops With Toronto Maple Leafs After Sheldon Keefe's Latest Decision

Published March 13, 2024 at 7:46 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a very unusual season in net. Now that the team is running three goaltenders, the club has found themselves with a but of a goalie controversy on their hands.

Keefe Goes Back To Samsonov In Net After Break

This morning, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed that Ilya Samsonov will get the start when the Leafs visit the Flyers on Thursday. It will be the team's first game since Saturday, when they defeated the Canadiens 3-2.

Sheldon Keefe confirms that Ilya Samsonov will start against the Flyers on Thurs

Leafs reporter and LockedonLeafs host Michael Distefano noted this morning that this move indicates who Keefe trusts the most for the starting job right now. Considering that the team is currently running three goalies, it does seem a bit odd that they would go back to Samsonov after a three-day break, unless they were planning on giving him the starter's work load for the rest of the season.

I think this is telling as to who the front runner is in the Leafs goalie battle right now. Still plenty of games left to settle things. But opting to go with Samsonov again out of a big break feels notable. #LeafsForever

Samsonov Winning Starting Job Back With Toronto Maple leafs

All of this seems to point to the fact that Samsonov will be the team's starting netminder heading into the playoffs, barring an injury. Truth be told, the goaltender deserves the role. After a miserable start to the season, Samsonov has completely turned things around. He has been one of the better goaltenders in the league over his last 15 starts.

Ilya Samsonov's last 15 games:

— 2.37 GAA
— .911 SV%

NHL legend Ron MacLean believes Samsonov is back for good. He credited Samsonov himself as well as Brad Treliving and Leaf's goalie coach Kelly Hrudey for his return to form.

"I give Kelly Hrudey a lot of credit. He said to Brad [Treliving], Get him away from the rink, get him away from a skills coach, get him away from all that. Just let him reboot."

Still though, Leafs fans may be nervous about their goalie situation as the team heads into the playoffs given the inconsistent nature of their goalies this season. Hopefully, this will not be a long-term problem for the team.

As seen on Photo credit: Chris Tanouye - GettyImages Latest decision by Sheldon Keefe points to a huge goaltending controversy in Toronto
March 13   |   940 answers
Major Goaltending Controversy Develops With Toronto Maple Leafs After Sheldon Keefe's Latest Decision

Who do think will be the Leafs starting goalie for game one of the playoffs?

Samsonov69774.1 %
Woll20121.4 %
Jones424.5 %
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