The Washington Capitals ended up keeping their first round pick (22nd overall) and selected Ilya Samsonov, goalie from Russia. The 18 year old from Magnitogorsk, Russia was ranked the No. 1 European goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. Samsonov was immediately welcomed by Michael Latta in the following tweet:
Samsonov wowed scouts with his play in Russia’s junior hockey league this past season, where he sported a 2.66 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage to go along with an 11-4-1 record. He also turned in some spectacular play at the Under-18 Five Nations tournament, World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and World Junior A Challenge.
While Samsonov put up great numbers in junior and on the international circuit versus his peers, the 18-year-old also had a taste of professional hockey, appearing in one period with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Samsonov has three years left on his KHL contract. Samsonov was the first goalie drafted in the first round for Washington since Varlamov in 2006.
Caps organizational Goalie depth chart is now pretty deep:
Dennis Schellenberg of Hockey Prospectus on Samsonov:
“Samsonov is one of many good goaltender prospects who have come out of Russia lately. He is considered by some to be the best one since Andrei Vasilevsky. His big size and the ability to make big saves impresses scouts the most. Although there are concerns about his consistency and the fact that he barely competed against top competitors, Samsonov has the talent to become a starting goalie at the NHL level.”