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Speculating: Murray or Samsonov, who gets the First Start?

It is pretty clear that the biggest question mark within the Toronto Maple Leafs organization is goaltending. Kyle Dubas and the Leafs' staff made a bold move this offseason, moving on from all-star goaltender Jack Campbell. And bringing in two netminders with shaky pasts, Murray and Samsonov.

At first glance, the two netminders appear to have similar skill sets. Both goalies are capable or were once capable of stealing a game or two for their past respectable teams. 

Of course, it is likely that the game one starting job will be decided during training camp, but it is still worth pointing out some key differences between the two goalies.
Personally, Ilya Samsonov should be the goaltender, starting game one of the regular season for the Maple Leafs (based on prior info). Samsonov is a player that just turned 25 years old this year and has yet to make 100 NHL appearances.

During the 2019-20 season, the former first-round pick played in 26 games while posting a .913 save percentage and a 2.55 goals-against-average. The Russian goaltender struggled this season, posting a.896 save percentage and a 3.02 goals-against-average while splitting time with Vitek Vanecek.
It is worth noting that the Washington Capitals didn't necessarily give up on Samsonov. They just preferred to spend their limited cap space on a veteran goaltender who has playoff experience in the hopes of making a final push with their aging core.
Samsonov gives the Leafs more of a floor compared to Matt Murray. Yes, Samsonov had a poor year last year, but he is still young and developing. On the other hand, veteran Matt Murray has yet to put up quality numbers since the 2018-19 season.

The starting, game one position will be determined based on training camp and preseason performance, but based on recent events and records, Ilya Samsonov should get the first start.


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