Photo: Amanda Bowen
Capitals 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov made his Development Camp debut Tuesday after staying in Russia last summer to train for the upcoming KHL season. The 19-year-old goalie prospect is coming off his best season as a pro. Samsonov officially graduated from the MHL (the KHL’s developmental league) and played in 19 regular season games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, registering a 2.04 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Metallurg would go on to win the Gargarin Cup as league champions. Samsonov played in six playoff games.
Despite being ranked the third best goaltending prospect by InGoal Magazine, Caps goaltending coach Mitch Korn believes the Russian netminder still has much to learn.
Caps get their first live look at 2015 first-rounder Ilya Samsonov. pic.twitter.com/3T6p5MYV4Y
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) June 28, 2016
Samosonov did drills for two hours on the ice, where, according to CSN’s Chuck Gormley, he received “animated instructions” from Korn, which were translated by Capitals senior director of communications Sergey Kocharov.
“You’ve got a guy from another country who’s never been here, who speaks no English, who’s in culture shock,” Korn said to Gormley. “He just practiced harder than he’s ever practiced in his life in one day. I’m not going to pass judgment on one day. One day certainly isn’t going to make a month or a career. It was an adjustment for him, it was a big adjustment. He’s a very big guy, a physical guy who fills a lot of net. But it’s a whole different culture. The level of intensity is way different here than where he comes from.”
Samsonov, who has two years remaining on his KHL contract, will play for Metallurg next season. According to Isabelle Khurshudyan, Korn is hopeful that Samsonov will transition to North America in 2017-18.
In a short session with the media after practice, Samsonov, as translated by Kocharov, reaffirmed his dream to play someday in the NHL. But there’s still much work to do.
“It was really hard,” Samsonov said to Gormley. “So many shots.”
Photos by Amanda Bowen
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