In a number of moves last week starting on Day 1 of the NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs completely changed their goalies from last season. Gone are Jack Campbell (signed by the Edmonton Oilers) and Petr Mrazek (traded to the Chicago Blackhawks) and in are Matt Murray (traded from the Ottawa Senators for future considerations) and Ilya Samsonov (signed as a UFA after the Washington Capitals failed to qualify him).

There are plenty of unknowns in the upcoming season, and there’s really not much to say about what goalie combination might be the better. There are simply too many question marks and too many differences in contexts to compare the goalies in an equal way.

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Comparing Murran and Campbell

Murray is a 28-year-old goalie who’s played close to 300 NHL games. He’s been a proven regular-season starter and a playoff performer (helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win two consecutive Stanley Cups). Still, that was a few seasons ago. He’s struggled the last three seasons, mostly because he’s been injured.

In truth, he struggled even when he was healthy. What can’t be known is whether it was him or the team that played in front of him.

Campbell is a 30-year-old goalie who’s a bit of a late bloomer. He entered the NHL as a first-round draft choice with the Dallas Stars with tons of potential; but, he lost his way. He spent parts of 10 seasons beating around the minors before he finally made it to the NHL. Then he played several seasons as an NHL backup until an injury to starter Frederik Andersen gave him his opportunity.

Campbell capitalized on that chance. In 2020-21, he set an NHL record for wins to start a season. Last season (2021-22) he began the season by playing a fantastic stretch of about 40 games where he was touted to become a Vezina-winning goalie. Then he struggled for much of January and February until he found his game again during the latter part of the season. He played well-enough in the postseason, but couldn’t stop the pucks well enough to carry the Maple Leafs to a victory.


The Statistics for Both Sets of Goalies

Looking at both sets of goalies’ statistics for 2021-22 shows the following:

GoalieStarts Goals AgainstGoals-Against-AverageShots Saves Save Percent
Jack Campbell471232.641,4301,307.914
Petr Mrazek18583.34520462.888
Erik Kallgren12433.31331342.888

Now, lets look at the same numbers for Murray and Samsonov.

GoalieStartsGoals AgainstGoals-Against-AverageShotsSavesSave Percent
Matt Murray20603.05640580.906
Ilya Samsonov391193.021,1451,026.896

The Jury Remains Out

The fact is that it’s simply impossible to say which group will be the better group of goalies and will have the most success for the Maple Leafs. One can argue that Campbell’s numbers were better last season than Murray’s. That’s accurate, but it doesn’t account for the context in which those numbers were generated.

The plain truth is that the Senators were not nearly as strong as the Maple Leafs were. Had Murray played with the Maple Leafs, would his numbers have been better than Campbell’s? Likely, but who knows by how much?

Until the season begins and things settle in, Maple Leafs’ fans cannot know who the better goalie (or the better duo of goalies are). If Murray and Samsonov can put up equally good (or even better) numbers than Campbell, Mrazek, and Kallgren did last season, there’s a good chance the Maple Leafs will enter the postseason every bit as strong as they were last season.

And, that’s the goal after all – isn’t it? Well, actually, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup.

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