In a post today on Dobber Hockey, Grant Campbell wrote about players’ values. In his post, titled “Ramblings – Player Valuations, Remaining RFAs, Zegras, Samsonov, and More,” he specifically named Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie Ilya Samsonov as one of the top NHL goalies for the money in last season’s evaluation.

Samsonov is coming up for arbitration soon. Perhaps a contract is worked out; perhaps it isn’t. The arbitration does give the Maple Leafs one more chance to buy out their other goalie’s contract. That would be Matt Murray.

I’m guessing that there’s a contract on the table and that Samsonov will sign before the arbitration date. But, that’s a guess on my part.

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Reasons the Maple Leafs Want to Start the Season with Samsonov

There are several reasons why re-signing Samsonov could be a beneficial move for the Maple Leafs.

Reason One: Samsonov’s Been Cost-effective

According to Dobber Hockey, last season Samsonov provided a surplus value of $3.8 million on his past contract of $1.8 million. Let’s assume he signs just south of $5 million per season. By Dobber Hockey’s comparison of goalies, that means that Samsonov is still found money. They believe, as they’ve compared goalies, that he was worth $5.6 million.

This means that, if the team can re-sign Samsonov at less than $5 million; and, if he can perform as well as he did last season, the Maple Leafs will be getting a goalie who performed at a level that exceeded his salary last season and who will also do so again this season. That’s a significant advantage in managing the team’s salary cap.

Reason Two: Samsonov’s Performance and Potential

Samsonov showed a great deal of promise during the 42 games he played. He logged 27 wins and put up a save percentage of 0.919. He has proved that he has the potential to be a reliable starting NHL goalie. Investing in a young and talented goaltender like Samsonov could provide long-term stability to the team’s goaltending position.

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Reason Three: Samsonov’s Future Flexibility

Currently, the Maple Leafs currently have limited cap space. However, there are potential moves the team can make to free up additional space. The team needs to move Matt Murray “off the books.” Sadly, he wasn’t able to stay healthy and he clearly seems to no longer be part of the team’s future plans.

Toronto needs to find a way to trade or move Murray’s contract. When this happens, it would create more room to fit in Samsonov’s new contract.

Reason Four: Samsonov Addresses the Team’s Goalie Needs

Perhaps the most obvious (a no-brainer really) reason to re-sign Samsonov is that he addresses the team’s goalie needs. The Maple Leafs are looking to improve their goalie situation, especially over the long term. Is there any reason NOT to believe Samsonov should be the guy in the net?

He’s been reliable and would provide them with a young and capable goalie who can solidify their goaltending position for years to come.

Reason Five: Samsonov Likes Playing in Toronto

It was clear from how he acted and engaged with the public that Samsonov likes playing in Toronto. He’s started his family here and I believe it’ll be a special place for him and his wife. I believe there will be room to negotiate a contract value that meets in the middle.

If the Maple Leafs can successfully negotiate such a contract – one that aligns his performance and potential with his salary – there’s no reason not to re-sign him.

The Bottom Line

Quite simply, re-signing Samsonov could be a good move for the Maple Leafs. There’s a chance that he has the potential to be a solid goalie for this team for a long time.

It just seems the time to make it all happen.

Related: Why Would the Maple Leafs Add Goalie Brian Elliott?

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