Sport-Express Writer Igor Eronko reported on Tuesday morning that Brian MacLellan is in Moscow to talk to Ilya Samsonov‘s representatives. His contract with his KHL team, Magnitka, will end on April 30.
#Caps GM Brian Maclellan is in Moscow to talk to Ilya Samsonov’s camp. He’s contract with Magnitka will end on April 30
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) December 12, 2017
The Capitals drafted Samsonov with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the world. In 17 games with Magnitka this season, Samsonov has a 2.87 goals against average and a .909 save percentage after recording a 2.13 goals against average and a .936 save percentage last year.
At the World Junior Championships last year, Samsonov had a 2.11 goals against average and a .930 save percentage in 6 games. He was named MVP of the tournament in 2015 when he had 2.67 goals against average and a .934 save percentage. He has already been through two significant injuries this season.
The Capitals are currently deep in net with Braden Holtby, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and was the runner-up for the award last season, signed for three more seasons, Philipp Grubauer as his backup, and Pheonix Copley down in Hershey.
There were reports that the Capitals might try to use him as trade bait in need to address the issue on their top-four defense group but that’s not going to happen, especially with a goalie of his caliber.
Samsonov would join Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov to the Capitals’ impressive collection of Russian superstars, but the Capitals will have to sign him first. He will report to Hershey once he is signed. If he signs with the KHL before he signs with the Capitals, the Capitals no longer have his rights.
By Harrison Brown