The Washington Capitals will not be bringing back Ilya Samsonov. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette revealed the news while doing an interview with NBC Sports Washington at Development Camp.
“I thought they did a good job for us,” Laviolette said to NBCSWSH of the team’s two young goaltenders. “Vitek is moving on to New Jersey. Both of these guys battled for us.”
"I think we're moving in a different direction. So, we'll wait and see what free agency brings."
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette on the changing of the guard at goalie⬇️ pic.twitter.com/U3Pc8LzIx7
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) July 12, 2022
Monday, the Capitals decided to non-tender Samsonov a qualifying offer that would have given him a 10 percent raise of his salary last season ($2.4 million). That move would have allowed the Capitals to retain Samsonov’s rights, but the Russian netminder had the option of going to arbitration. Fearing a possible arbitrated salary of $3 to $3.5 million for a backup goaltender, the Capitals opted to let the young netminder leave the nest.
There was still a possibility that Samsonov could re-sign if he was open to taking a more team-friendly deal before or after the start of free agency, but Laviolette threw cold water on that idea Tuesday.
“It’s just a change in the position,” Laviolette added. “Free agency opens up here tomorrow and we’re looking to fill that position. Those guys, we wish them well. They were good Caps while they were here and we’re moving in a different direction. We’ll wait to see what free agency brings.”
Samsonov went 23-12-5 and sported career lows in GAA (3.02) and save percentage (.896) last season.
The Capitals also traded Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils ahead of the second day of the Draft, leaving them with no NHL goaltenders… for now.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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