Maple Leafs revamped goaltending key in all or nothing season

The success of Toronto's goaltending tandem of Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov, both recruited in the offseason, will go a long way to determining success for the Maple Leafs in the playoffs.

Video Transcript


- Of all the questions this year, the main one is going to be, is Murray OK? Is Samsonov OK? Are both all right? Or are both bad? That's the biggest gamble that Dubas took this year, especially again, going into this all or nothing season where we really need to have some type of success in the playoffs. I'm tired of losing in the first round, man.

And now, knowing that there are a lot of question marks and that, I can kind of be a little apprehensive. But at the same time, it could be pretty interesting. I mean, when is the last time the Leafs have had a goalie come out of nowhere or who had a lot of-- not many expectations and actually ended up running with things a little bit? Yeah, we can say Jack Campbell, but there's still a lot of optimism around Jack Campbell, maybe James Reimer. And that went well, until it didn't. Bad flashback.

But training camp will be an interesting opportunity for both. And there's something that I really want to make clear, Leafs fans. I know that we tend to react to things very, very quickly, but we need to give both Murray and Samsonov time. I'm not just talking time in preseason. I'm talking about time in the regular season.

Let's hold off on our huge takes about whether the decision was right or the decision was wrong maybe until the first 10 games of the season. For now, the best thing for both the goalies is just to get comfortable, feeling good and healthy, so they can have a great season.

And who knows, maybe there's an opportun-- maybe there's a moment where one goaltender really stands out. Maybe Samsonov comes out of nowhere and ends up taking the number one job from Murray. Now, is that ideal? No. Because Samsonov doesn't have a deal next year. And also, he's not making 4.6, or whatever it is. But it's still good goaltending.

And it doesn't even have to be elite goaltending. We just need some good, solid goaltending that can get us through some games, that can get us through the season and that can get us through the playoffs. It doesn't have to be elite goalies that get through the playoffs.

Yes, we've seen it. We've seen Vasilevskiy stand on his head in the playoffs. But we've also seen a lot of the examples of goalies who are just in a great position, have a great run, feel great about themselves, and they were able to have some long-term success in the playoffs that leads to a couple of rounds one, or it can even lead to a championship. And again, in this season that's what the Leafs need.

And if you need any confirmation or you need any evidence of that potential thing happening, I mean, ask Matt Murray. That's how you got his start, right? And if he does what he did in Pittsburgh in Toronto-- I'm not talking about winning a cup, but if he can give us some playoff success-- then I think that gamble worked out pretty well for Dubas and everyone else.