The Washington Capitals have re-signed their last major free agent – their potential starting goaltender for next season, Ilya Samsonov.
The Capitals and Samsonov have agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract.
NEWS | The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million contract.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) August 9, 2021
Samsonov was a restricted free agent and just recently completed his entry-level contract where he made $1.475 per season. Last week, he opted to not file for arbitration.
The bridge contract will allow Samsonov, who scuffled last season and missed a lot of time due to two stints on the COVID-19 Unavailability List, to show his top form and potentially earn a lot more money. Meanwhile, the deal gives the Capitals flexibility and more time to figure out its goaltending situation long-term. The team recently re-acquired Vitek Vanecek from the Seattle Kraken.
“[A bridge contract] is most likely given the season he had last year,” MacLellan said of a possible new deal with Samsonov after the NHL Draft. “A little inconsistency there. That probably works for both parties. I think he recognizes, or his representation recognizes, that there’s upside there. We recognize there’s upside there so it makes it. So that probably makes sense for both sides.”
According to CapFriendly, the deal leaves the Capitals with approximately $627k of cap space heading into next season if Martin Fehervary makes the opening night roster, which is expected, and the team goes with 12 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies. If the Capitals fill out their roster to have an extra forward (or two), they may need to make another roster move before then.
According to cap friendly, if the Caps carry 13 F (Pinho) and 7 D (TVR), they will be $97k over the cap. https://t.co/uaFtdIIoOY
— Paddy Holden (@pfholden) August 9, 2021
Samsonov will be a restricted free agent once again after next season.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) August 9, 2021
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Re-sign Ilya Samsonov
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Samsonov, 24, posted a record of 13-4-1, with two shutouts, a 2.69 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in 19 games during the 2020-21 season. Samsonov made his playoff debut in Game 3 on May 19 versus Boston, stopping 40 of 43 shots. In three playoff games, Samsonov went 0-3 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .899 save percentage.
In his rookie NHL season in 2019-20, the 6’3”, 200-pound goaltender went 16-6-2 with a shutout, a 2.55 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. From Nov. 30, 2019 to Jan. 31, 2020, Samsonov won 11 straight games to tie George Hainsworth for the second-longest win streak by a rookie in NHL history (Hainsworth: 11-0-0 in 1926-27; Ross Brooks: 14-0-0 in 1973-74). During that stretch, Samsonov recorded a 1.73 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage, the lowest goals-against average and the second highest save percentage among all goaltenders during that span. Additionally, Samsonov became the first rookie goaltender in franchise history to win his first five career starts, the 18th goaltender at the time in NHL history to accomplish the feat and the first since Charlie Lindgren of the Montreal Canadiens from April 7, 2016 to Nov. 7, 2017. Samsonov also became one of two goaltenders in NHL history to win each of his first 10 career games on the road, joining Brent Johnson, who set the record with 11 wins from Feb. 26, 1999 to Jan. 13, 2001 with the St. Louis Blues.
Internationally, Samsonov appeared in the 2017 World Junior Championship with Russia and recorded a 2.11 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in six games, leading Russia to a bronze medal and earning World Junior All Star Team honors. Samsonov also won a silver medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship, appearing in two games for Russia with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage. Samsonov also represented Russia at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, posting a 2-1-0 record, a 1.67 goals-against average and .952 save percentage at the tournament. He recorded a 46-save shutout in the bronze medal game to lead Russia to a 2-0 win over Canada East. Samsonov also represented Russia at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and recorded two wins and a .942 save percentage to earn top goaltender honors at the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations tournament.
The Capitals selected Samsonov with their first-round pick, 22nd overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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