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Keefe hoping Leafs' Woll can practice after All-Star break

Joseph Woll Toronto Maple Leafs Joseph Woll - The Canadian Press

There is still no timeline set for the return of injured Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll, head coach Sheldon Keefe told the media Wednesday morning ahead of their clash with the visiting Winnipeg Jets

The 25-year-old Woll has not played since Dec. 7 when he suffered a high ankle sprain late in a win over the Ottawa Senators in the nation's capital. 

Keefe says he is hoping Woll will be ready to practice with the team following the All-Star break, taking place in Toronto from Feb. 1-3. 

Over 15 games this season, Woll posted a 8-5-1 record alongside a 2.80 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Selected by the Leafs in the third-round of the 2016 NHL Draft, Woll had just 11 games of NHL experience entering the 2023-24 season, but became the Leafs' No. 1 goalie with the struggles of Ilya Samsonov


Samsonov to start vs. Jets

Samsonov will make consecutive starts for the first time in more than a month when the Maple Leafs host the Jets on Wednesday.

Samsonov, who was waived and assigned to the AHL to start the month before being recalled on Jan. 10, last started two straight games on Dec. 9 and Dec. 11. The 26-year-old made 16 saves against the Seattle Kraken to earn the 3-1 win on Sunday.

“Sammy was lights out for us. He made some unbelievable saves and just looked really confident, really poised in there,” centre Auston Matthews said. “It was great to see.”

“[Samsonov has] been grinding away,” added winger Nick Robertson. “I think he's just been on the opposite side of luck. ... He’s a great goaltender, too, so for him to get rewarded like that, and [after] working and going through this rough patch, it's good to see, and I hope he can build on it."

Samsonov has been candid about his struggles this season after opening the year as the team's No. 1 option. He has a 6-3-6 record with a .866 save percentage and a 3.69 goals-against average in 17 games.

Samsonov is just a year removed from his best season as a pro, winning 27 games, earning four shutouts, and posting a career-best .919 save percentage. He was awarded a one-year, $3.55 million contract in arbitration in the off-season.

“I think October to a couple of weeks ago this time is probably [the] hardest in my life,” Samsonov said after Sunday's win. “But life is moving forward and staying positive. I forgot about what was going on in the past. I'm just focused [on] today.”

With Woll sidelined and Samsonov struggling, the Maple Leafs have leaned heavily on veteran Martin Jones over the past six weeks. Jones, however, has lost in four of his past five starts and allowed six goals on 21 shots in Saturday's loss to the Vancouver Canucks