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Maple Leafs Sign Samsonov to One-Year Deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs sign Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, prove-it deal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally solidified their crease. 

Mere hours after swinging for the fences to acquire Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators, the Maple Leafs kicked off free agent frenzy by bringing in another goaltender with a chip on his shoulder, signing former Capitals starter Ilya Samsonov to a one-year deal worth $1.8 million. 

And with that, Toronto's crease will look completely different heading into next season. 

The Maple Leafs have made significant efforts to revamp their goaltending depth after another disappointing playoff exit, dumping Petr Mrazek's bloated contract on the Chicago Blackhawks at the draft by trading down 13 spots and then making a massive bet on Murray to rebound to his Stanley Cup-winning form. 

Samsonov is yet another player -- younger, too -- with something to prove, coming off a dreadful season with the Capitals during which he posted a .896 save percentage while allowing 12.5 goals below average. 

Still, the 25-year-old has some incredibly intriguing tools in his skill set that could be tweaked with some attention from Toronto's development staff, having been a 15th overall pick by the Capitals back in 2015 and putting together an incredible run as a borderline teenager in the KHL before heading to North America. 

It's not as if Samsonov has been a complete bust in the NHL, either. As a rookie, Samsonov posted a .913 save percentage in 26 appearances in 2019-20, showing glimpses of the potential he has to be a quality option at the big-league level. Toronto's development staff and newly-established goaltending department will clearly work closely with Samsonov in order to help him realize it, creating a talented tandem that certainly has much to prove. 

Only time will tell if they do it. But for now, the Leafs have addressed their most pressing need and can now turn their sights to shoring up other areas of their roster. 



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