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Ilya Samsonov, Eric Comrie, and the Goalie Trade Market

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Ilya Samsonov Eric Comrie sent down

Goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Eric Comrie cleared waivers Monday, leaving many wondering about the trade market and state of NHL goaltending. Both Samsonov and Comrie were brought in with the intention of starting the majority of games for their respective teams. Now, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres are left with well-compensated depreciating assets.

Let’s dive into the Samsonov and Comrie AHL demotions after no other options were available and breakdown the NHL trade market.

Ilya Samsonov Demoted

Ilya Samsonov was brought to Toronto originally by former general manager Kyle Dubas last season on a one-year deal. His $1.8 million dollar cap hit was a modest one, hinting that his run at the starting job would be more of a timeshare or audition than a certainty. A lot times game environment can have a huge impact on the goalie, so it seemed like a good marriage when Samsonov improved from costing his former club -0.28 goals per game in 2021-2022 to stopping 0.51 goals per game above expected for the Maple Leafs in 2022-2023.

New general manager Brad Treliving rewarded him with another one-year deal, this time at a $3.55 million cap hit.

Goaltending is very volatile, however, and a rattled Samsonov never was able to take the reins this season. Despite a PuckLuck.com projection of 0.23 goals-saved above expected this season, based on their predictive model, he has cost the Leafs nearly a goal per game, at about -0.95 GSAx.

When you’re costing your team that much, it’s a no-brainer to turn elsewhere. With Joseph Woll on injured reserve, Toronto now turns to Martin Jones and Dennis Hildeby. The Leafs will also be forced to eat $2.4 million in cap penalty due to sending Samsonov down to the AHL.

The Eric Comrie Logjam

Ever since Eric Comrie was brought in to Buffalo on a two-year, $1.8 million dollar deal last season he has struggled to stay healthy. He was supposed to be the liaison in net until one or both of Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen were developed and ready to take over the starter’s role.

Comrie only appeared in 19 games, however, and saw a huge drop in his underlying numbers. He cost the Sabres nearly half a goal per game, and it seemed their run and gun environment was not one he could ever get comfortable in.

This season, Comrie has only appeared in seven games. His goals saved above expected number has only improved slightly, to about -0.43. His poor play and health has somewhat accelerated both Levi and Luukkonen’s development path and buried himself to third on the organizational depth chart.

The Sabres announced Monday that Comrie has been sent down to AHL Rochester. The move will cost them $650,000 in cap penalty.

The NHL Trade Market

To go over the status of NHL goaltending, let’s group each team into four states: comfortable, content, weary, and panicked. We’ll quickly summarize their projected numbers, actual numbers, and potential trade activity.

Comfortable

Arizona Coyotes

  • Projected GSAx: +1.10
  • Actual GSAx: +15.57
  • Trade Market: None

Boston Bruins

  • Projected GSAx: +19.54
  • Actual GSAx: +26.20
  • Trade Market: Jeremy Swayman rumors have diminished as his role has increased

Florida Panthers

  • Projected GSAx: +6.23
  • Actual GSAx: +11.84
  • Trade Market: Spencer Knight is performing well in the AHL but cap costly so team could make Anthony Stolarz available

Los Angeles Kings

  • Projected GSAx: +2.48
  • Actual GSAx: +15.28
  • Trade Market: None

New York Islanders

  • Projected GSAx: +20.83
  • Actual GSAx: +20.30
  • Trade Market: None

New York Rangers

  • Projected GSAx: +8.65
  • Actual GSAx: +20.41
  • Trade Market: None

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Projected GSAx: -0.49
  • Actual GSAx: 23.42
  • Trade Market: None

Vancouver Canucks

  • Projected GSAx: +6.37
  • Actual GSAx: +22.92
  • Trade Market: None

Vegas Golden Knights

  • Projected GSAx: +7.27
  • Actual GSAx: +13.80
  • Trade Market: None

Washington Capitals

  • Projected GSAx: +4.54
  • Actual GSAx: +16.67
  • Trade Market: None

Winnipeg Jets

  • Projected GSAx: +18.71
  • Actual GSAx: +20.99
  • Trade Market: None

Content

Anaheim Ducks

  • Projected GSAx: +2.15
  • Actual GSAx: +14.79
  • Trade Market: Potentially shopping John Gibson

Calgary Flames

  • Projected GSAx: +0.18
  • Actual GSAx: +8.84
  • Trade Market: Dan Vladar rumors have waned but Dustin Wolf seems ready to surpass him on the depth chart

Colorado Avalanche

  • Projected GSAx: +1.55
  • Actual GSAx: +6.01
  • Trade Market: None

Dallas Stars

  • Projected GSAx: +5.82
  • Actual GSAx: -2.72
  • Trade Market: Could be looking for extra help as Jake Oettinger’s injury is testing Dallas’ depth

Detroit Red Wings

  • Projected GSAx: +3.08
  • Actual GSAx: +1.18
  • Trade Market: James Reimer potentially available

Montreal Canadiens

  • Projected GSAx: -0.87
  • Actual GSAx: +7.64
  • Trade Market: Jake Allen likely available, as Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau are younger and cheaper

Nashville Predators

  • Projected GSAx: +15.54
  • Actual GSAx: +4.23
  • Trade Market: Kevin Lankinen could be moved to make room for Yaroslav Askarov

Philadelphia Flyers

  • Projected GSAx: +2.73
  • Actual GSAx: +8.45
  • Trade Market: None

Seattle Kraken

  • Projected GSAx: +1.56
  • Actual GSAx: +6.81
  • Trade Market: None

St. Louis Blues

  • Projected GSAx: +1.54
  • Actual GSAx: +5.14
  • Trade Market: None

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Projected GSAx: +12.67
  • Actual GSAx: -4.34
  • Trade Market: None

Weary

Buffalo Sabres

  • Projected GSAx: -2.04
  • Actual GSAx: -5.13
  • Trade Market: Eric Comrie is available but went unclaimed on waivers

Chicago Blackhawks

  • Projected GSAx: -10.14
  • Actual GSAx: -1.95
  • Trade Market: Likely stagnant as expectations are low

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Projected GSAx: -15.69
  • Actual GSAx: +10.21
  • Trade Market: Likely a seller should either Daniil Tarasov or Spencer Martin lock up the backup role

Minnesota Wild

  • Projected GSAx: +7.75
  • Actual GSAx: -1.03
  • Trade Market: None

Ottawa Senators

  • Projected GSAx: +2.98
  • Actual GSAx: -13.48
  • Trade Market: Likely hoping for improvement over trade

San Jose Sharks

  • Projected GSAx: -7.99
  • Actual GSAx: -1.25
  • Trade Market: Kaapo Kahkonen in last year of deal, though Mackenzie Blackwood could return more

Panicked

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Projected GSAx: +7.49
  • Actual GSAx: -11.34
  • Trade Market: With Frederik Andersen hurt and Antti Raanta stumbling, Carolina is desperate to help Pyotr Kochetkov

Edmonton Oilers

  • Projected GSAx: +1.47
  • Actual GSAx: -7.36
  • Trade Market: With Jack Campbell still in the AHL, likely looking for a reliable NHL goalie

New Jersey Devils

  • Projected GSAx: +1.91
  • Actual GSAx: -13.26
  • Trade Market: Immediate buyer, with neither Vitek Vanecek nor Akira Schmid stepping up

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Projected GSAx: +12.25
  • Actual GSAx: -1.32
  • Trade Market: Samsonov available but buying time and exploring options until Joseph Woll returns

 

All GSAx (goals-saved above expected) data via PuckLuck.com. Trade market information provided is speculative in nature and should not be mistaken for verified reporting.

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