Maple Leafs and Ilya Samsonov can move on.
After each side laid out its case in an arbitration hearing on Friday, the 26-year-old goalkeeper was awarded a one-year, $3.55 million contract on Sunday.
Samsonov was asking for $4.9 million; The Leafs deposit amounted to $2.4 million.
Samsonov played for the Leafs in 2022-23, recording a 0.919 save percentage (seventh among NHL goaltenders) while posting a 27-10-5 record. Samsonov also had a 2.33 goals-against average and recorded four saves.
The breakthrough season after the death of Samsonov was acquired by the Washington Capitals. Upon his arrival to free agency last summer, Samsonov signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with Toronto.
Samsonov will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next year. However, Samonov and the Leafs could begin working on a contract extension in January.
Although the refereeing process can be difficult for any player, Samsonov was ready for the session and ready to move on.
Don Meehan, agent of Samsonoff LLC, told me Toronto Sun Sunday afternoon.
“He was well educated (preparing for the hearing). There are no hard feelings with the Leafs, and now we’re moving forward.”
With the arbitration decision, a 48-hour possession window is about to open for the Leafs, during which Matt Murray can say goodbye. The appeal window goes into effect at 5 p.m. on the third day after the arbitral award. For the Leafs, it will be 5 p.m. Wednesday, and it will run until 5 p.m. Friday.
The purchase of Murray, which would represent a $4,687,500 cap reached in 2023-24, would cost the Leafs $687,500 next season and $2 million toward the cap in 2024-25.
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The Leafs could also trade Murray, who may need to include sweetener to entice a team to make that deal, or put him on long-term injured reserve for next season.
Joseph Wall is waiting for the Leafs’ goaltender, who will have to accept waivers to be sent to the MHL’s Toronto Marlies. Wall showed last season and in the playoffs that he’s ready for a full-time roster for the Leafs.
With Samsonov’s contract expiring, the Leafs are $12.4 million more than the cap. Defender Jake Muzen is expected to be placed on LTIR, which will save $5.625 million.
Either way, general manager Brad Treleving, who has negotiated new contracts with superstars Auston Matthews and William Nylander starting after next season, will cut his job to get the Leafs title before the start of the regular season in October.