The Toronto Maple Leafs goalies have some of the best records in the game this season, despite an injury epidemic devastating the Leafs since the start of the season. However, once Matt Murray returned from injury, he proved to be the answer to the Maple Leafs injury woes. Now that both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov have returned to playing action, and both have posted shutouts, how could the Toronto Maple Leafs goalies stack up?
Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie: Matt Murray
Murray has been fantastic since his return from injury, having not been beaten since his return to the ice on November 15th against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since his return, Murray was able to post a shutout against the Dallas Stars, despite his team making some fatal mistakes that led to a 5 vs. 3 penalty kill at the end of the game. Now that Murray is with the Leafs, he has looked as strong as he did with the Penguins when he won two Stanley Cups.
Although he went on a run of bad form while playing with the Ottawa Senators, he has come back into such great form that it is hard to imagine the 28-year-old as anything other than the starter for his team. He has a .933 safe percentage, and a 2.34 GAA which also places him in the top ten goalies in the league in both of these stats (among goalies who have played more than five games). Truly the sky is the limit for Murray, but what about his counterpart?
Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie: Ilya Samsonov
Ilya Samsonov is the other part of the Leaf’s goalie upgrade that was needed during the offseason. The player has performed admirably in his ten starts for the Leafs and even managed to win his first career shutout against the LA Kings in a game that saw him face 29 shots on net while working behind a largely missing Leafs’ defense as a majority of their starting D-core are currently injured or just returning from injury. Samsonov is currently in the top three goalies in terms of goals against average, with a 1.87, and he is in the top five for his save percentage, matching Matt Murray with a .933 in the all-important stat.
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The 25-year-old Russian-born goalie is currently having the best season of his career in his first season with the Leafs, and could certainly look to be a long-term placement for the Toronto team. Since joining the team, Ilya Samsonov has only lost two games, although he also faced an injury that sidelined him for most of November.
With both goalies for the Leafs having posted shutouts, and both looking extremely impressive for the team since returning from injury, the Maple Leafs are faced with a difficult question to answer; who starts in the net?
While Matt Murray brings a certain veteran presence to the team, he also has not been the best in past seasons, as was mentioned when looking at his time with the Ottawa Senators, however, since coming to the Maple Leafs he has been nothing short of an amazing performer and has seen his career do a complete 180-degree turn back to the type of form he was in during his play with the Penguins.
Similarly, Ilya Samsonov has seen his career take a dramatic uptick from his time in Washington. Since coming to the Leafs, Samsonov went from a goalie with a .896 save percentage to that of one of the top three goalies in the league.
The best option for the team currently may be to work on a rotation basis, with Murray and Samsonov both taking on moves between the starting position, taking on a similar approach as the former Jennings winning pairing of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner with the Vegas Golden Knights. But what do you think? Who should take the starting position of the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie? Let us know.
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