Corrado: Maple Leafs taking Samsonov to arbitration ‘not great for any player, let alone a goalie’
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 month ago
Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman (and current TSN hockey analyst) Frank Corrado shared his thoughts on Friday about the Leafs taking goaltender Ilya Samsonov to an arbitration hearing.
Although dozens of players file for arbitration every summer, very few of them ever make it to the actual hearings — and for good reason, as they essentially create a forum for teams to justify why they don’t think a player is worth their asking price.
At best, the process can lead to some hurt feelings. At worst, it can completely destroy a relationship between team and player. As former Leafs forward Jeff O’Neill once said about his own arbitration case: “First thought walking out […] I never want to play for that team again.”
Corrado expressed some similar sentiments on Friday, the same day the Maple Leafs and Samsonov went ahead with their arbitration hearing.
“Surprised Samsonov and the Leafs got to arb,” Corrado tweeted. “Not ideal that the starting goalie for next year is going to have to hear about how bad of a goaltender he is for a few hours today from his own team. Not great for any player let alone a goalie. Both sides should’ve been able to figure it out.”
Samsonov, 26, posted a 27–10–5 record, a .919 save percentage, and four shutouts in 42 games with the Maple Leafs during the 2022–23 regular season. He went 4–4 with an .898 in nine playoff contests.
Of course, Samsonov was brought in by the previous management regime in Toronto. Current Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving reportedly presented an arbitration filing of $2.4 million, whereas Samsonov’s camp set their bar at $4.9 million. The arbitrator will make a ruling, which will ultimately take the form of a one-year deal, by Sunday afternoon.
As it stands, the Leafs don’t have a ton of other options in net aside from Samsonov. Matt Murray is still around for one more year, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be healthy enough to play; Joseph Woll showed well down the stretch last season but is relatively inexperienced; and, on the UFA market, the likes of Brian Elliott, Martin Jones, and Alex Stalock are the best external candidates available.
Samsonov’s new contract will walk him directly to unrestricted free agency at age 27. How the Leafs maneuver around that reality and fare with their existing goaltending trifecta remains to be determined.
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