As is regularly the case with the Montreal Canadiens, goalies are a recurring topic of discussion at the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the 2022-2023 season will be no exception to that rule.
They want to find success again on the regular calendar, but most importantly, win their first playoff series since 2004. The many failures of the past have often been attributed to the lack of a goalkeeper capable of pulling the chestnuts out of the fire at the crucial moment. Over the summer, however, the Leafs said goodbye to Jack Campbell while getting their hands on Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray.
Some observers are already expressing their skepticism about these attitudes. However, the players of the club put their full trust in their trusted men on the net. In the case of Murray, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he has an opportunity to breathe new life into a career that has taken the lead on the wing.
“I’ve been in the National League a long time and haven’t had the opportunity to make long runs in the playoffs. So I want to see a guy like him at work and use his experience to learn from it because he was there and he was successful. Counting on a man who has won two trophies and is acting as a starter is a very good advantage,” defender Mark Giordano told the Toronto Sun.
“Think about it. He was playing with a teammate who is not easy to oust; [Marc-André] Fleury is one of the best out there and Murray probably got a lot of experience from there. He was #1 in Pittsburgh at one point, which says a lot,” he added.
In addition to Murray, who was due to play two periods of Wednesday’s preseason game against the Habs, and Samsonov, who was hired as a free agent, the Leafs have Erik Kallgren under their aegis. Having played nearly fifteen games for the big club by the end of the season, he will be ready to take over should there be a problem.
“He’s kind of the forgotten with Murray and Samsonov, but he’s here and he played well for us last year,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe. When we were struggling and couldn’t have stability in that position, he came in and gave us the confidence to win.
“We haven’t forgotten that. […] It will be a challenge to send him in front of the net a lot in the preseason because the other two guys will take on a good workload. On the other hand, it’s important to continue working with him and Curtis Sanford [instructeur des gardiens] to build their relationship. You never know what the season will bring. He’s moving forward and will want to do his best when the opportunity arises,” Keefe said.
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