Ilya Samsonov Receives an Exciting Visitor From Washington

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Ilya Samsonov
SOCHI, RUSSIA - AUGUST 6, 2017: HC Metallurg Magnitogorsk's goaltender Ilya Samsonov makes a save in their Sochi Hockey Open 2017 match against SKA St Petersburg at the Bolshoi Ice Palace. Artyom Korotayev/TASS (Photo by Artyom KorotayevTASS via Getty Images)

by Toni Inglis

Young goaltender Ilya Samsonov receives an exciting visitor, in Russia this week, in the form of Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. This 20-year-old top prospect was selected as first round pick in the 2015 draft. His contract finishes with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Kontinental Hockey League) in the spring. Sport-Express’s Igor Eronko and TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on the visit.

Ilya Samsonov Receives an Exciting Visitor From Washington

It is comforting for Samsonov to know that his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Despite periods of injury, he has been outstanding to date. Last season playing 27 games, obtaining a 2.13 goal against average and a .936 save percentage. Samsonov has continued to impress this season, playing 17 games with a 2.87 goal against average giving him a .909 save percentage.

Although the negotiations are premature it may be an advantage to the Capitals. As back up goalie, Philipp Grubauer will be a restricted free agent next season. Grubauer has proved himself capable and ready to be given more responsibility next year.
Samsonov himself is under no illusions, in an interview with Championat’s Daria Tuboltseva in August, he stated:

“There is a chance (I could back up Holtby), but I need to work harder,” This is the best league in the world after all. There are another five prospects competing for the same spot as me.”

One of those young prospects for the role is Pheonix Copley. Currently playing for Capitals affiliate team Hershey Bears and will be on a one-way deal next season. Copley does have more NHL experience but does not match Samsonov’s raw skill.

With award-winning, Braden Holtby contracted to play at least until 2020. Samsonov may have to continue to work hard and be patient for some time yet. He looks very promising however and will be an exciting addition. Even if he has to gain more experience in the American Hockey League first.

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