Ilya Samsonov, a highly-touted prospect in the Capitals organization, is in the final year of a KHL contract he signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk as a teenager. Tuesday morning, Sport-Express’s Igor Eronko reported General Manager Brian MacLellan is in Russia visiting Samsonov. The news was later confirmed by Isabelle Khurshudyan.
According to Aivis Kalnins, MacLellan is visiting as part of a push to get the goaltender to the United States next season.
#Caps GM Brian Maclellan is in Moscow to talk to Ilya Samsonov's camp. He's contract with Magnitka will end on April 30
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) December 12, 2017
Kalnins wrote that the Capitals, at the most, can only come to a verbal agreement with Samsonov and would have to wait until April 30th to begin the paperwork for an entry-level contract.
Rumors this morning circulated that Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan is in Russia negotiating a deal with Samsonov. Although negotiations at this point can be only verbal and if an agreement is reached no paperwork can be done until April 30th (due to an agreement between NHL and KHL) when Caps prospect becomes a free agent in KHL, things seem to be progressing and won’t be long till we hear a definitive information that an agreement has been reached.
A KHL source has suggested that both sides aren’t far off and MacLellan is doing his best to assure Samsonov will get whatever he deserves just to move over as early as next season. There is also a belief amongst people that Philip Grubauer is playing his final season with the Capitals.
In a statement, Metallurg Magnitogorsk said this to Kalnins.
They are negotiating and trying to reach a mutual agreement. That is all they can and have been doing until Samsonov is no longer a member of Metallurg Magnitogorsk
Samsonov was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft and is considered one of the best goaltending prospects in the world. The Russian goaltender has talked about eyeing a potential backup role with Capitals for next season. He is also open to playing in AHL, with Philipp Grubauer a restricted free agent.
“There is a chance (I could back up Holtby), but I need to work harder,” Samosonov said in an interview with Championat’s Daria Tuboltseva in August. “This is the best league in the world after all. There are another five prospects competing for the same spot as me.”
In the trade that brought Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington, the Hershey Bears also received former goaltender Phoenix Copley back from St. Louis. Copley was originally included in the TJ Oshie trade. Copley is on a one-way deal next season and could also backup Holtby in DC.
Samsonov had a slow start to his season, only appearing in three of Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s first ten games after having an offseason inguinal hernia surgery.
Samsonov returned to his normal self with three-straight wins in October, but unfortunately suffered a concussion in early November and has only played once since. Through his 17 games this season, Samsonov has posted a .909 save percentage with a 2.87 goals against average.
Headline Photo: Mike Ehrmann
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