Ilya Samsonov is the future of the Capitals. Probably…
|689||shots faced, all strengths|
|60||goals allowed, all strengths|
|.924||5-on-5 expected save percentage|
|.927||5-on-5 save percentage|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the season. A short description of each chart:
Ilya Samsonov appears poised to take over the Caps’ net next season. With franchise mainstay Braden Holtby about to test free agency after a down season, and with Samsonov’s 2019-20 looking sterling in comparison, it seems like his ascent is imminent. But not so fast.
First, through happenstance of samples, Samsonov had a noticeably easier job than Holtby did in 2019-20.
Those heatmaps are from Hockey Viz, but Natural Stat Trick’s reckoning of expected goals agrees. Samsonov faced 10.8 high-danger chances per hour, and Holtby faced 11.6. Still, Samsonov’s performance was undeniably better. Samsonov saved 0.43 goals above average per hour, whereas Holtby fell below average by 0.22 goals per hour, with the biggest gap being in high-danger saves. Samsonov earned his 26 net appearances last season and probably deserved even more.
But let’s not get carried away. With just 689 shots faced in his career, we still don’t have any reason to be confident in knowing how good Samsonov is. Ten years ago, the great Hawerchuk published a study on the chances of a true-talent average goalie looking elite early in their career. The two lines here are .925 and .930; Samsonov’s currently at .927 — just between them. The pink vertical line indicates how many shots he’s faced in his career so far.
It’s way way way too soon to know if Samsonov is the real thing or not, and that’s why I’m expecting the Caps to acquire a goaltender this offseason. It’s just too risky to let it all ride on the kid, especially after he self-sabotaged his summer with an ATV accident from which he is still recovering. There might be a bright future ahead, but we’re just not there yet.
In addition to doing sick jumps on your ATV, what are some other offseason activities Sammy should avoid? Also how many starts would you like to see from him next season, assuming the Caps bring in a veteran to share the net?
Read more: Japers Rink
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.