It has been no secret that the Washington Capitals have been keen for the Magnitogorsk Metallurg goalie Ilya Samsonov to come to the American Capital since drafting him in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. However, the Capitals have had to be patient until the 21-year-old’s current contract has expired. There are no announcements of specific contract details as yet, only that the Russian native is flying over to sign a rookie contract.
Report: Ilya Samsonov expected to sign with the Capitals after April 30 https://t.co/kTSTKS6q1v
— RMNB (@russianmachine) April 10, 2018
Ilya Samsonov Signs With the Washington Capitals.
The young Russian is considered by some as the best prospect in the KHL. He has played four seasons in this competitive league, achieving a .936 save percentage with a 2.31 Goals against average this season.
However, the Magnitogorsk Metallurg where unsuccessful in their playoff attempts this year, Samsonov has solidly performing considering his young age.
The Following is from Ben Kerr ‘s scouting report for the Top Shelf Prospects series:
Samsonov has the ideal size that teams are looking for in goaltenders today at 6’4″ and 203 pounds. Samsonov makes the most of that size, coming out to challenge on plays, and reducing the amount of net that forwards have to shoot at. He is very athletic and never gives up on a play, resulting in him being able to make some ridiculous saves.
Samsonov has strong legs and gets side-to-side across the crease quickly and efficiently. He plays a tight butterfly and his legs kick out quickly to take away the bottom of the net. He has a fast glove hand and blocker as well. Samsonov skates backward very well, and this makes him hard to beat on dekes. He comes out to cut down those angles but backs up quickly if the shooter instead tries to go around him. His positioning is very good. He remains square to the puck even when moving around the crease.
In terms of weaknesses, Samsonov needs to work on his rebound control, though this is something that is a common problem for young goaltenders. He improved over his draft year. With good coaching, it can be developed over the next several years. He also doesn’t seem to handle the puck very well, though he also doesn’t do it very often.
What This Signing Means for the Future.
It’s likely that Samsonov will go to the Hershey Bears first to log in some ice time. But with Braden Holtby slump and back up goalie Philipp Grubauer‘s needing more responsibility with his contract up after playoffs. The Russian might find an opening soon if he can prove himself.
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)