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For higher or worse, Leafs following a brand new crease course with Murray and Samsonov


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The brand new-look goaltending panorama of the Maple Leafs will nonetheless require a lot weeding and watering.

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Kyle Dubas hopes Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov and possibly a teen or two will bloom by spring and is aware of if not, he’ll probably be out of the backyard.

After buying Murray from Ottawa earlier within the week, shedding Jack Campbell to free company on Wednesday, gaining Ilya Samsonov a couple of minutes later to take the departed Petr Mrazek’s No. 2 position, the overall supervisor now waits to see if he’s fastened the place the subsequent couple of years or imperiled any playoff hopes in 2023.

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Dubas nonetheless liked Campbell, however not on the five-year time period the Edmonton Oilers gave him at $5 million US per. That’s solely about $300,000 in AAV greater than Murray, however the latter has solely two years at his value.

Add Samsonov, 25 and a former first-round decide (twenty second total in 2015) from the Washington Capitals at an reasonably priced $1.8 million for this season —Dubas considers the No. 1 job open to problem Murray — and the Leafs have set their crease course, for higher or worse.

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Dubas is betting on Murray’s “pedigree”, two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh and whereas he didn’t say it, Campbell had not stolen the Leafs any large playoff wins when it counted.

“We knew actually clearly from Jack’s representatives what the mix of phrases and {dollars} would seem like,” Dubas stated throughout a pause in Wednesday’s war-room strategizing. “(Murray) is 28, the identical age Jack was when he got here in right here. Matt would acknowledge himself that it wasn’t a terrific end in Pittsburgh and his first yr in Ottawa.

“The figuring out components for me had been pedigree and, extra importantly, the best way he carried out as soon as he got here again from Belleville (a humiliating AHL demotion by the Sens) earlier than getting injured on the finish of the yr, exhibiting indicators of the goaltender he has been up to now.

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“It’s a two-year dedication with him, one yr with Ilya. They’re each younger sufficient that we’ll give them some runway right here and see if they could be a long-term resolution. We even have our personal younger goaltenders on the best way. We hope they’ll all push themselves.”

The GM performed down his private connection to Murray from greater than a decade in the past when the goalie performed for the Dubas-run Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. Sarcastically, Dubas had Campbell introduced in as Murray’s successor.

“I do know what Matt’s about and I’ve seen him in difficult moments,” Dubas stated. “But it surely was a a lot completely different degree and a very long time in the past. Issues that override all that for me are what he did in Pittsburgh 5 years in the past and the again half of this yr. Understanding the character of the individual and the earlier expertise at all times helps but when not for that pedigree, it wouldn’t be a match. I do know a lot of gamers from the Soo, the Marlies (farm workforce) that simply aren’t suits. We deem Matt a match.”

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Clearance from the Leafs medical employees after a full examination of Murray’s concussion historical past clinched the deal, as did Ottawa agreeing to retain 25% of his wage — however not a greenback extra.

“With any participant who has had an harm … no purpose to bounce round it, that’s at all times better (threat). However we be ok with the place he’s at and that he stays in that situation.

Samsonov was projected to make $3 million or extra if he used his arbitration rights as a restricted free agent. That was far too wealthy for the Caps as they needed to accommodate the arrival of Darcy Kuemper from the Colorado Avalanche for 5 years at $26.25 million, the day’s premier free-agent catch of the crease.

Final yr was the Russian’s profession excessive with 49 video games, 5 of these in playoffs.

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“(The starter’s position) can be broad open to competitors,” Dubas stated. “Our hope is each play effectively and so they get to work in September (with new membership goaltending coach Curtis Sanford). “Ilya could be very younger, had nice potential. In going by his scenario together with his folks right here right now, attending to be taught somewhat bit about it, he’s very extremely motivated.

“The factor that stood out to me, he needed a one-year, present me, bet-on-yourself kind deal. That’s not at all times widespread with gamers coming off of the shock of not being certified (as a restricted free agent) when not anticipating it. That was spectacular, together with the analysis of our participant personnel and goaltending departments, a part of what he can grow to be if we get him heading in the right direction.”

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Campbell had a profession yr and joins a rising variety of ex-Leafs in Edmonton with Zach Hyman, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci.

Dubas stated he had a farewell chat with Campbell on Wednesday.

“He got here in right here at a time after we desperately wanted him, when Freddy (Andersen) was injured. Everybody has watched the next years when he took over and the way a lot he cares about his teammates and the town,” Dubas stated.

“We gained’t neglect that, however ultimately, you must make choices which might be finest for the way forward for the workforce.”
Dubas added one other goalie earlier than the midday bell sounded to start out free company. Dennis Hildeby, the 6-foot-6 Swede that one media kind nicknamed “Hilde-Beast” was signed to a three-year entry degree deal per week after being drafted 122nd total.

He’s a 20-year-old who nobody thought a lot of in his first two years of eligibility, however confirmed indicators of blossoming in Farjestad final yr. He should be supplied again to that membership by the Leafs, however Dubas and the employees will get a have a look at him this weekend when growth camp begins in Toronto.

Earlier than Samsonov’s signing, Dubas was predicting that final yr’s rookies — Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll — would battle for the backup position behind Murray.

They may now get common AHL taking part in time with the Marlies.

lhornby@postmedia.com

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