Recently, the Washington Capitals have been lauded for their goalie depth and two of their young prospects have been on display in Helsinki, Finland. Over the weekend we covered Vitek Vanecek’s game versus Russia and today we bring you Ilya Samsonov’s 2016 World Junior Championship debut game versus Belarus.
Samsonov led Russia to a 4-1 victory, stopping 17 out of 18 shots on goal (.944 save percentage). Despite the overwhelming victory, Samsonov had a few minor things we noticed that could use some improvement. Below are the highlights, and lowlights we took from the game:
Positioning was aggressive, which was good and bad. The following are examples of the good. He’s above the top of the crease taking away as much net as possible with no other scoring threats present.
On this play in particular, Samsonov is aware he has two players skating to the backside of the net and holds his depth accordingly. Stays deeper in the crease for the potential lateral save, but stays square to the shooter and makes the save.
During the play below, Samsonov takes an aggressive depth position towards the shooter, but fails to recognize the open skater to his right. Luckily, for Samsonov the skater to his right missed the open net.
Stays with the puck after his defensemen blocks the shot, and positions himself taking away most of the net after the weird bounce.
Failed to track the puck all the way to his glove, and gave up a juicy rebound. Despite the rebound, he locates the puck after the initial save and makes a nice right pad save.
Mishandled the puck numerous times, failing to identify forecheckers and/or defensemen.
On the lone goal Samsonov allowed, he momentarily lost the puck behind the net. However, his defensemen runs into his right pad, rips his stick out of his hand, and prevents him from sliding post-to-post to recover in time.
This is the first game action we’ve seen Ilya perform in, but we’re certain he would’ve preferred a better performance. However, don’t fear Capitals fans, one game cannot simply tell us everything we need to know about Samsonov. The 6’3”, 200 lbs. goalie is very athletic and is quick on his feet, which will hopefully allow for a quick adaptation of the North American game. Unfortunately, he’s locked into playing in Russia until 2018, but rest assured we will keep you apprised of his progress.
By Stephen Hudson (@CapsGoalies)