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The Toronto Maple Leafs had a bad start to the season as far as goaltending is concerned due to the fact that veteran goaltender Matt Murray suffered a significant injury just one game into his 2022-23 National Hockey League regular season. Thankfully the Maple Leafs have been bailed out in a big way by newly acquired goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who has now rattled off 4 straight wins to start the season.
Samsonov's start has been so impressive in fact that his win on Saturday night made him just the second goaltender in Maple Leafs history to achieve a 4-0-0 start to their tenure as a Maple Leaf. As impressive as his start has been however it isn't quite enough to earn a spot in the Maple Leafs' history books, with that spot still belonging to the late Frank McCool.
McCool, a goaltender for the Maple Leafs for two seasons between 1944 and 1946, started his career as a Maple Leaf by rattling off 6 consecutive wins, 2 better than Samsonov thus far. McCool would last less than two seasons in the NHL, finishing his career with just 72 NHL games, but despite his short tenure with the team he has held on to this record for the better part of a century.
Given the level of parity across the the NHL in the modern era and given the sheer number of teams around the league accomplishing a 6-0-0 start is incredibly difficult and that will be the case for Samsonov if he wishes to earn his spot in the Maple Leafs' record books. That being said the former first round pick is well on his way to doing so with the majority of the wins already under his belt, and a very solid performance thus far with a 1.73 goals against average and a .938 save percentage through those first 4 wins.
Although it remains very early in the season, general manager Kyle Dubas and the rest of the Maple Leafs front office must feel like they hit the jackpot since signing Samsonov earlier this summer. The 25 year old netminder currently comes in at a cap hit of $1.8 million on a 1 year deal, and has been more than earning that contract so far.