Key Stat: A .913 SV% through 26 games in his rookie season? Not too shabby, Sammy, not too shabby.
The Good: Samsonov appeared in 26 games for the Capitals this season, including four relief appearances, and posted a record of 16-6-2. His 2.55 GAA was tied with Andrei Vasilevskiy for 11th-best in the league for goalies who appeared in at least 15 games, which puts him in pretty solid company. Additionally, Samsonov posted an impressive 16-2-1 record and .925 SV% through his first 20 games of the season, and he won 11 starts in a row between November 30 and January 31. He seemed to make the transition to NHL ice well, which was definitely a concern for him coming into the season.
The Bad: The end of Samsonov’s season was rough, folks. After a particularly successful December and January, Samsonov put together a string of bumpy outings. The Capitals lost all six games he appeared in, which included one relief appearance and one overtime loss. Take a look at his stats split below, comparing his first 20 games with his final six:
It was no secret that Samsonov’s play dropped off a bit once the calendar flipped to February, but seeing the numbers laid out like this is somewhat jarring. Additionally, he did not get the chance for a rebound in the bubble because of his injury sustained off-ice during the pause so his poor play is the last impression he left. Only Samsonov knows exactly what happened, whether the issue was more mental or physical, but either way, it’s concerning. What caused this sharp drop in play, and can the issue be addressed?
The Video: Samsonov recorded his first career shutout in January, a 23-save gem against the Carolina Hurricanes. Let’s relive some of his highlight-reel saves below...
The Discussion: With Braden Holtby hitting free agency, Ilya Samsonov is slated to take over as Washington’s starting netminder next season. Do you think he is ready for the job? How much does his end-of-season slump concern you, especially when considering his presumed added responsibilities next season? How might working under a new head coach affect his game? What kind of backup goaltender would you like to see on the roster to support Samsonov?
Other Samsonov Season Reviews: Peerless
The Vote: Rate Samsonov below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How would you rate Ilya Samsonov’s 2019-20 season?
This poll is closed