On Monday, the Washington Capitals will host their annual development camp two weeks earlier than usual at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. And this year, they’ll have several new faces on the ice. Not only will the Caps’ draft picks from the 2016 NHL Draft be making their on-ice debuts in Ballston, Virginia, so will 2015 first round pick and Gagarin Cup champion Ilya Samsonov.
Stan Galiev broke the news on Instagram after he posted a picture with the talented goaltending prospect during a dinner double date.
A photo posted by Stanislav Galiev (@galixon) on
A source close to Samsonov has confirmed the news.
Last season, Samsonov, the Caps’ first round draft pick and the first goalie selected during the 2015 NHL Draft, did not participate. It was a bit of a mess. The Caps first said Samsonov was missing camp due to a visa issue. Later we learned he was attending Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s training camp.
“He’s under contract, but he’s not here because they’re already training and they’re already starting their season, basically,” Assistant General Manager Ross Mahoney said to RMNB’s Chris Gordon during last year’s camp. “He is playing in the elite league. It’s happened in the past with some of our players we’ve had from Europe where their seasons have basically already started as far as the training and playing exhibition games coming up and that sort of thing. He had that commitment already, so we’re good with that.”
The KHL regular season begins in September. Training for the new season typically starts for most teams in July. The Caps often hold Development Camp the second week of July, forcing European prospects to make a difficult decision.
“It was harder for some of the European kids,” Ross Mahoney said Saturday after the 2016 NHL Draft concluded. “They would go home and then come back again right away. So you would fly home and you would fly back and camp can only be for five days really. They would go home for five or six days and come right back right again. It made a little more sense to probably have the camp as soon as we could after [the Draft] and then they wouldn’t have to do the back and forth so much. We’re going to try it out and see how it works.”
Goalie Yoda (and a dude who better end up in the Hall of Fame) Mitch Korn will now be able to train and coach one of the most talented goaltending prospects in the world. It can mean nothing but good things for the player and the organization.
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