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Samsonov reveals plenty other options, still chose Toronto every other interested
Photo credit: NHL

ILYA SAMSONOV REVEALS THAT HE HAD PLENTY OF OTHER OPTIONS, BUT STILL CHOSE TORONTO OVER EVERY OTHER INTERESTED TEAM

SEP 22, 2022  (13H34)      BEN HODGSON
Training camp is open and we are finally hearing from players for the first time after their summer breaks. Today was Ilya Samsonov's first skate with the Maple Leafs, and his first media scrum as a Leaf as well. Samsonov was a first round pick, and highly touted as a possible Vasilevskiy 2.0. Up to this point in his career he hasn't been able to live up to the initial hype. This season, he's trying to change all of that.

After not receiving a qualifying offer from the Capitals, Samsonov became a Group 6 UFA. Essentially, he could still sign with anyone, but depending on the length of his contract, he could still be an RFA at the time of expiry. According to Samsonov, he turned down several multi year deals from other teams that would have taken him to UFA status to sign a one year deal with Toronto. When that one year deal expires, he will still be a restricted free agent for the Leafs. According to both Dubas and Samsonov, the 25-year-old goalie actually wanted a prove it deal. The goal is to show the hockey world that he is the elite goalie he was projected to become, then cash in on his next deal. It works well for both player and team. From the Leafs end, if he's good, great, they get a season of solid goaltending and still have his rights by the end. If his ask is too high, those signing rights still hold value in a trade. If he's not great, they can simply walk away, leaving Samsonov to test free agency.

To me, the fact that Samsonov was willing to sign a deal that keeps him as an RFA speaks volumes about how badly he wanted to be in Toronto. For many NHLers, their first off season as a UFA is their best shot to cash in. Now, the Leafs will have a much stronger bargaining position at season's end should they choose to retain the young Russian long-term. At this point, all evidence points to both Samsonov and the Leafs brass wanting to make this a multi year partnership.

HOW MANY GAMES WILL SAMSONOV PLAY FOR THE LEAFS THIS SEASON?
SEPTEMBER 22      316 ANSWERS
10-20299.2 %
21-3012138.3 %
31-4012238.6 %
MORE THAN 404413.9 %
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