Assessment and predictions for Joseph Woll
Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By Bennett Jull9 months ago
Now that the All-Star game(s) are done and players have returned from their festivities, the Leafs have 10 games in 21 days before the March 3rd trade deadline. Over the next 3 weeks, Kyle Dubas and his team will be hard at work trying to upgrade the roster. It will be interesting to see what he does, with debate raging over whether the Leafs need help up front, on the back end, or in both areas.
The one position where the Leafs are unlikely to adjust is the crease. Ilya Samsonov has been stellar this season, and Matt Murray (when healthy) has played some very solid hockey. Both have exceeded expectations, and long gone are the days when Kyle Dubas’s off-season net-minding decisions were heavily critiqued.
Another reason the Leafs feel comfortable in net has been the play of both goaltenders underneath Murray and Samsonov. Both goalies had injured stretches earlier this season, and Erik Kallgren did an adequate job filling in. With Murray on the shelf again, it is a foregone conclusion that Ilya Samsonov will play either Friday or Saturday. It’s looking increasingly likely that Joseph Woll will play in the other game. Let’s take a closer look at Woll and the season that he’s had.
Toronto selected Woll in the 3rd round of the 2016 NHL draft (62nd overall). The former US World Junior Selection and Boston College Eagle has had a phenomenal year with the Toronto Marlies. Woll currently boasts a 13 and 1 record with a .930 save percentage. His only loss was a 4-0 defeat in which the Marlies were outshot 48-15.
His stellar numbers and numerous highlight reel saves have kept the Marlies in many games. Woll is a big reason that the Marlies currently have the best point percentage in the Eastern Conference, and are 11 points ahead of 2nd place in their division, having played a game less. He earned an invite to the AHL All-Star game and continued to shine in Laval where he won the Best Goaltender Award in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Woll has played 4 games with the Leafs, going 3 and 1. He has a .911 save percentage in the NHL, with all of his action coming last season. Kyle Dubas clearly believes in him, as he offered Woll a $766,667 contract per year through 2024-25 last February. Woll will look to build on his NHL totals this year but don’t be surprised if his contract turns into quite the bargain.
While goalies tend to be harder to predict than others, I firmly believe that Joseph Woll is edging closer and closer to being very ready for the NHL. At 24 years old, the Leafs have taken their time to develop him. He has overcome Covid seasons and some injuries along the way, but his body of work this season shows he can at least dominate the AHL.
I’ve been to just about every Marlies home game this year and tuned into plenty on the road. It’s clear his teammates love him, and I’ve heard from a couple of people who are in the know that Woll is a class act and a really nice guy off the ice. My prediction is this; Woll will get into a few games between now and the end of the season, and perform well. Going into next season, don’t be surprised if Woll commands more serious looks to play multiple games for the Leafs. In his contract year, my gut tells me that Joseph Woll will be an everyday NHL goalie for the Maple Leafs.
I’m very excited to watch him down the stretch, either with the Maple Leafs or the Marlies. Woll announced that every save he made during the All-Star game would result in a donation to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and their #KidsForCapes fundraiser. I will match his donation of $280, and I encourage anyone that is able, to donate to this amazing cause.
Recent articles from Bennett Jull