Siegel: The Maple Leafs can’t play Ilya Samsonov any longer

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The clip has come.

The Toronto Maple Leafs tin nary longer proceed to rotation Ilya Samsonov retired there. It would beryllium a disservice to nan squad — to his teammates and Sheldon Keefe’s coaching unit — to do so.

That became clear Friday nighttime successful Columbus.

The Leafs dominated nan Blue Jackets, winning 73 percent of nan expected goals, and still fell successful overtime acknowledgment successful ample portion to Samsonov. He surrendered six goals connected only 21 shots. Pucks recovered their measurement by him successful each which way, including an Adam Fantilli changeable that hit him cleanly nether nan mitt from 36 feet — and tied nan people astatine five.

The number of goals against Samsonov has allowed successful his past 4 starts: four, six, five, six.

Samsonov has allowed 52 goals successful 15 starts this season, almost 3.5 per game. He’s fixed up goals connected shots that aren’t moreover scoring chances, goals connected shots he perfectly needs to stop.

Which intends nan Leafs request to people a ton — five, six, 7 goals — to moreover person a chance to triumph erstwhile he’s successful nan net.

Were Joseph Woll not retired pinch a high-ankle sprain, Samsonov almost surely wouldn’t beryllium playing astatine each correct now.

The Leafs would presumably beryllium rolling pinch 3 goalies, pinch Woll and Martin Jones carrying nan load.

As it is, pinch Woll retired for a while still, nan Leafs are constricted successful what they tin do. The existent 3rd goalie down Jones and Samsonov is 22-year-old Dennis Hildeby, a rookie successful nan AHL. Which explains why Samsonov has continued to play.

The Leafs evidently don’t want to propulsion Hildeby into nan operation if they don’t person to. But pinch nan measurement Samsonov is playing correct now, it’s gotten to nan constituent that they simply person to spell that way anyway.

Hildeby doesn’t person to play a lot. Jones will commencement Saturday astatine location against nan Hurricanes. After that, nan Leafs recreation to California, starting pinch a back-to-back against nan L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Hildeby tin commencement nan 2nd nighttime successful Anaheim, other 1 of nan league’s lower-scoring teams, and nan Leafs tin spell from there.

GM Brad Treliving tin much earnestly research nan waste and acquisition and free-agent markets and effort to travel up pinch a Band-Aid replacement until Woll is fresh to return. The beforehand agency astir apt has nary prime now but to research thing amended than a Band-Aid aft that, personification who tin conceivably stock aliases moreover return complete nan nett if necessary.

Jones, astatine 33, is simply a agelong for that benignant of duty.

The Leafs targeted him to beryllium their No. 3, not their No. 2. Woll played very good earlier his wounded but remains inexperienced astatine nan NHL level. He’s besides struggled to enactment healthy.

Could personification for illustration Jaroslav Halak, a free agent, beryllium an action successful nan short term?

“I’m judge Tree is going to see everything,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters successful Columbus aft nan nonaccomplishment to nan Blue Jackets.

As for Samsonov, nan Leafs tin only delegate him to nan Marlies connected a conditioning stint pinch his consent. Maybe he’ll judge it if asked. He knows it’s going badly. If not, nan Leafs tin simply spot him connected waivers. With a headdress deed of $3.55 million, and nan worst numbers of immoderate regular-playing goalie successful nan convention correct now, there’s a bully chance he clears.

Maybe there, distant from nan spotlight and pressure, he tin statesman to rebuild his game.

But this — this can’t continue.

(Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig / USA Today)

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