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Caps Sign RFA Ilya Samsonov to 1 Year, $2 Million Contract

Caps re-sign the inconsistent goaltender to a 1-year contract.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After re-signing Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals had one major piece of business left: sign restricted free agent Ilya Samsonov. They finished that outstanding task on Monday, announcing that Samsonov has agreed to a 1-year, $2 million extension.

Samsonov, a former first round pick for the Caps, has had an inconsistent tenure with the team marred by several off-ice incidents and being on the NHL COVID protocol list twice.

The Caps young netminder hasn’t been any more consistent in net. In 2021, when he did play, Samsonov had a -5.6 Goals Saved Above Expected during the regular season. After seeming to acquit himself well in Game 3 against Boston, Samsonov had a brutal miscommunication that allowed for the game winning goal. Samsonov did not win any of his 3 playoff starts.

All this to say that Samsonov did not have much leverage to demand a high contract (unlike other young goalies.) With the move, the Capitals now have under $1 million in cap space, and barring a Kuznetsov trade, their remaining offseason moves may be minimal.

More from the team:

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.