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On Ilya Samsonov’s arbitration ruling, his long-term future with the Leafs, and what all this means for Matt Murray: Leafs Morning Take

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
9 months ago
After weeks of dissection and debate, Ilya Samsonov finally has a new contract in place for the 2023-24 season.
On Sunday, following a 48-hour review period, mediator Stephen Raymond awarded the 26-year-old Russian netminder a one-year, $3.55 million contract. Effectively, the Leafs are walking Samsonov to unrestricted free agency next summer.
Surprisingly, the two parties were unable to come together on a new deal by Friday’s scheduled hearing, so they proceeded with arbitration. Over the past few days, it’s been fascinating to see everyone’s opinion on the situation. On one side, you have the crowd who’s impressed with Brad Treliving for not conceding in negotiations. On the other, you have those who wonder what going to arbitration will mean for Samsonov’s long-term future in Toronto. By all accounts, it’s not a pleasant experience for players, and often times, they can become sour towards the organization because of it. And I get that. Having said that, it feels like Samsonov’s wound a bit differently. Personally, it doesn’t seem like this kind of stuff would get to him. At any rate, I got together with Jay Rosehill to debate the new deal and what it could mean for Samsonov’s overall future with the squad.

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With Samsonov signed, sealed, and delivered, the focus now shifts to Matt Murray. Because Samsonov elected for arbitration, it triggered a second buyout window for the Maple Leafs to use. At this point, Toronto’s agenda with Murray remains unclear. On Thursday, Elliotte Friedman intimated during a hit on NHL Network that the 29-year-old’s injury history could prevent a buyout from taking place. If that’s the case, the other options at play here could be placing him on LTIR once the season starts or trading him outright. If the Leafs decided to do the latter, they almost undoubtedly will have to include a sweetener, something they’ve been reluctant in doing to this point.
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