Ilya Samsonov makes the Daily Faceoff Trade Target list

Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
6 months ago
One man’s trash is another one’s treasure. That sounds harsher than I intended it and ignores the fact that the Leafs found Samsonov as a worthwhile reclamation project in the summer of 2022 as well. Anyway,  the point is that The Nation Network resident insider, Frank Seravalli, has placed Ilya Samsonov as #20 on the Daily Faceoff list of NHL trade targets and he could find himself on the move in the next couple of months.
From Frank Seravalli:
Martin Jones has been excellent – the clear best third goaltender in the NHL. If Joseph Woll can revert to his early season form when he returns from his ankle injury, the Leafs won’t need to answer the Samsonov collection. They could move his $3.55 million cap hit to another team who believes Samsonov can reboot.
You can read the full writeup from Seravalli on Samsonov and the entire list over at Daily Faceoff, but Frank’s point is a strong one that even if Samsonov returns to the Leafs refreshed and like his 2022-23 self, Martin Jones and Joseph Woll look to be the tandem that inspires the most confidence in the Leafs and arguably the winning formula teams have relied on in the past for playoff success. Goaltenders being hot at the right time is half the battle and the Leafs have promising signs with Jones and Woll.
Samsonov on the other hand can be an interesting reset option for a number of teams. Buffalo, Chicago, Edmonton, and San Jose are some easy teams to list off when it comes to exploring high risk goaltenders. Ilya is still only 26 and has the former first round pick label to keep teams interested. And while the Leafs won’t get much of a return on Samsonov there is a good chance that there is a lottery team out there looking to add someone cheap so they can move the goaltenders presently on their roster for a higher return. Have faith in the goaltending carousel.
There is something to be said for this being the best thing for Samsonov as well. It’s a hard road back in Toronto when he’s been so open about his lack of confidence and while that kind of transparency is generally refreshing, goaltenders along with surgeons and air traffic controls can cause a bit of a panic when they say their head isn’t in the work. If there is a fit somewhere else in the league he should be just as excited as the Leafs by it.
Some important things for context is that if Samsonov clearing waivers and no one taking him for free isn’t a complete negative and his value might have gone up in the scenario that lets Samsonov work things out in the AHL for a while. It’s also possible that teams will buy into the Leafs refresh approach and that could increase interest. There’s also the fact that at some point the goaltending market will start shrinking and before you know it Samsonov might be the best option available. There is also the matter that the best asset the Leafs will get in return is cap space and while the full $3.55M would be an absolute dream, if the Leafs are able to get any additional room to make another deal, they should be thrilled. Anything short of the Leafs paying a team to take Samsonov off their hands could be worthwhile.
The fact that Frank Seravalli is talking about Samsonov being out there probably means the Leafs aren’t overly excited about bringing Ilya back into the fold with the Leafs and while there are still 60 days until the trade deadline, the Leafs would likely hop on the first deal that allows them to move on and focus on addressing their roster needs.

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