Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Moldenhauer & Sateri

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll take one last look at some of the rumors that are swirling around before the day gets really busy. It is, after all, the first day of free agency and teams are already preparing press releases for what’s coming.

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Specifically, I’ll share a rumor that the Maple Leafs might be interested in goalie Ilya Samsonov, who was surprisingly not tendered a qualifying offer by the Washinton Capitals. I’ll report latest news on Josh Ho-Sang.

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Third, I’ll share a brief preview of 2022 Maple Leafs’ draft choice Nick Moldenhauer. And, last, I’ll perhaps create my own rumor that Team Finland goalie Harri Sateri might still be on the Maple Leafs’ radar.

Item One: Might the Maple Leafs Get Ilya Samsonov?

Just when I thought the Maple Leafs had the Maple Leafs’ goalie situation had settled, a rumor popped up that – wait a minute –  Matt Murray would be the team’s backup and not the starter. The rumor site HockeyBuzz reported that, when the Capitals failed to extend a qualifying offer to their 25-year-old Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov, the Maple Leafs had been presented a “gift.”  

Ilya Samsonov Washington Capitals
Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The site also suggested that this was made possible because Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper would be signing in Washington for $6+ million. Their rumors suggested that Jack Campbell would be headed to the Edmonton Oilers to join the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl entourage working to push the Oilers further in the postseason than they went in 2022. [By the way, at the 11th hour, Evander Kane re-signed with the Oilers. So, he’s back as well.]  

HockeyBuzz noted that Samsonov would be pricey, however. And given that their site reported that Evolving Hockey’s projected Samsonov’s contract be about four years, at $4.4 million per season that’s probably accurate. 

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Obviously, those numbers are guestimates. Actually, all of it is rumor and projection. Still, makes for juicy speculation.

Item Two: Josh Ho-Sang Signing with the KHL

I had mentioned trying to track what happened with Josh Ho-Sang after he ended his season with the Toronto Marlies. Until a few days ago, I had seen nothing in terms of news about him. I read that he’d had an exit interview with Ryan Hardy, newly appointed to the role of assistant general manager, which seemed quite silent about Ho-Sang. 

Now, Kevin Weekes has reported that Ho-Sang will sign a one-year deal to play with Ufa of the KHL. Last season Ho-Sang played with the Marlies, but also suited up with Team Canada for the Beijing Olympic Games. He scored 16 goals and added 19 assists (for 35 points) with the AHL Marlies. 

Some THW readers reported in the Conversation section of posts that they’d watched Ho-Sand play and that he was dominant. Obviously, not dominant enough. 

Item Three: More About Maple Leafs’ Prospect Nick Moldenhauer 

In round three (95th overall) the Maple Leafs chose Nick Moldenhauer in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft last Friday. Moldenhauer, who’s an 18-year-old, Mississauga native, might be another one of those “finds” for Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas and his team of scouts. 

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Moldenhauer’s numbers aren’t overwhelming (in his first USHL season he produced 18 goals and added 25 assists (for 43 points) in 41 games. However, he had been coming back from an injury. Shades of Ilya Mikheyev, he was cut by an accidental skate blade early in the season and spent an extended amount of time in the hospital.

Nick Moldenhauer Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Moldenhauer, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Because Moldenhauer is now healthy, Maple Leafs’ fans shouldn’t be surprised if his production skyrockets. He’s a strong skater and a hard worker; however, the word is that he needs to work more on his playmaking skills. Moldenhauer’s plans are to return to Chicago Steel of the USHL next season and then decide on which NCAA college he’ll play with during the 2023-24 season.

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?

One goalie that I’ve heard nothing about over the past two weeks or so about figuring out who will land where is Harri Sateri. Maple Leafs’ fans will remember that, at the end of the season, the team signed the Olympic Games’ gold-medal-winning Team Finland goalie to a contract for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. 

However, Sateri had to clear waivers to become part of the Maple Leafs’ roster. But Arizona jumped in to claim him, and he eventually played six games with the Coyotes at the end of the season. 

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Might Sateri be on the Maple Leafs’ radar again? We’ll see very soon.