Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending battle ‘wide open,’ says Dubas

The battle to become the preferred goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs is ‘wide open’ according to general manager Kyle Dubas.

Everything has changed in the Toronto net for next season, with Jack Campbell (Edmonton Oilers) and Petr Mrazek (Chicago) both departing.

The Leafs have traded for Matt Murray from Ottawa and acquired Ilya Samsonov on day one of free agency, and Dubas has challenged each player to stake their claim.

“It will be a wide-open competition,” Dubas said. “We will give them both a good run, and our hope is that both play as well as they can.”

Speaking about Samsonov, Dubas said: “He seems very highly motivated.

“The thing that stood out to me more than anything was that he really wanted it to be a one-year, kind of ‘show me, bet on yourself’ type deal, which is not always common.

“That was impressive to me, combined with the evaluation of our player personnel department of what he can become if we can work with him and get him on the right track.”

Murray is an interesting one as a formerly impressive netminder who lost the confidence of his coaches to such an extent he was sent down to the AHL.

Dubas, though, believes there is still a top goalie in there somewhere, and he hopes the Toronto Maple Leafs can coax it out of him. “The determining factor for me, No. 1, is pedigree,” he said.

“But more importantly, it’s the way that he performed once he came back up from (AHL) Belleville before getting injured at the end of the year. He was showing the signs of the goaltender that he’s been.

“It’s a two-year commitment with (Murray) and a one-year agreement with Ilya. They’re both young enough that we will give them the runway here and see if they can become the long-term solution in net. But we also have our own young goaltenders on the way.

“We’re hopeful that over the course of the next two seasons that these guys can all push themselves and begin to run with it.”

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