Maple Leafs round out goalie tandem as Samsonov signs on to join Murray

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs signed goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, US$1.8-million contract Wednesday.

The move shortly after the opening bell of NHL free agency came after Toronto, which will have an entirely new crease tandem next season, acquired Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators over the weekend.

The 22nd pick at the 2015 draft, Samsonov became an unrestricted free agent after the Washington Capitals declined to tender the 25-year-old a qualifying offer.

In parts of three NHL seasons with Washington, the Russian netminder was 52-22-9 with a .902 save percentage and a 2.81 goals-against average. He owns a .907 save percentage and a 2.98 GAA in eight career playoff appearances.

The Leafs also signed Nicolas Aube-Kubel to a one-year, US$1 million contract. 

The winger, who won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche last month, split last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado, registering 11 goals and 22 points in 67 regular-season games before making 14 playoff appearances.

The Slave Lake, Alta., native has 21 goals and 50 points in 169 regular-season games as Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas once again went shopping in the bargain bin to round out his bottom-6 forward group.

The Leafs, however, made goaltending their focus this off-season after it became Jack Campbell apparent would hit the UFA market.

Toronto shed the disappointing Petr Mrazek's $3.8-million salary cap hit in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks at last week's draft in Montreal before getting Murray from Ottawa in a trade that will see the Senators pick up 25 per cent of his $6.25-million wage bill over the next two years.

Despite an ultra-talented roster led by Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, the Leafs are looking to get over a playoff hump that has included seven straight series defeats dating back to 2004.

Earlier in the day, Toronto announced it had signed goaltender and 2022 fourth-round pick Dennis Hildeby to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 20-year-old Swede will attend the team's development camp, which opens Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2022.

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