Former Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov and the Toronto Maple Leafs were not able to come to a contract resolution before Samsonov’s scheduled arbitration hearing on Friday. Now, a neutral ruling arbitrator will decide how much Samsonov will make during the 2023-24 campaign.
The Leafs had up until the second the hearing started to be able to come to an outside agreement with the Russian netminder but now that the hearing has begun the NHL’s CBA makes that no longer possible. And, because Samsonov is one year away from unrestricted free agency, the term for his new deal can only be a maximum of one year.
The Hockey News’ David Alter was first on the reporting.
I’m hearing Ilya Samsonov and the #Leafs went ahead with the hearing. There is no more negotiating and an arbitrator will rule on his salary.
— David Alter (@dalter) July 21, 2023
Samsonov had a career resurgence in his first season in Toronto after the Capitals decided not to tender him a qualifying offer during the 2022 offseason. The 26-year-old posted a 27-10-5 record with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. He also helped lead the Leafs to their first playoff series victory since 2004.
That sort of performance means Samsonov is due for a raise. The only question is just how much of a raise from the $1.8 million he made in 2022-23. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Wednesday that the Leafs have filed for a $2.4 million salary and Samsonov has filed for a $4.9 million salary.
If the neutral arbitrator rules heavily in Samsonov’s favor (above $4.54 million) then the Leafs will have the opportunity to decline to sign Samsonov to that deal and he will become a free agent. It’s a tenuous situation for Toronto as they are currently almost $9 million above the salary cap even before Samsonov gets his raise.
Some of that cap will come off once defender Jake Muzzin ($5.625 million) is placed on long-term injured reserve but the rest of it might need to be covered by follow-up moves. One being the buyout of oft-injured and inconsistent goaltender Matt Murray. Murray is scheduled to make over $4.6 million next season.
New general manager Brad Treliving definitely has his hands full. He’s also negotiating extensions for star forwards Auston Matthews and William Nylander as both players are unrestricted free agents next summer.
Update (7/23): Sammy has his new deal and a slight raise.
Ilya Samsonov has been awarded a one-year contract worth $3.55M with the #leafs by an arbitrator.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 23, 2023
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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