The Washington Capitals announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have placed goaltender Pheonix Copley on waivers. This almost certainly means that goaltender Ilya Samsonov will back-up Braden Holtby when the Capitals open their season at the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues (8 PM ET, NBCSN) on Wednesday night.
The Capitals have placed Pheonix Copley on waivers.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 2, 2019
Copley signed a three-year contract extension that carries an average annual value of $1.1 million with the Capitals on February 4. He went 16-7-3 with a .905 save percentage, a 2.90 goals-against average, and one shutout in his first season as an NHL backup last year.
Samsonov, 22, is projected as the Capitals’ top prospect by many. He went 19-14-5 with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage in 36 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears last season in his first season in North America but ended the season strong. Samsonov posted a .925 save percentage or higher in each of his final three seasons in the KHL, including a .936 save percentage in 2016-17.
The Capitals drafted Samsonov 22nd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
The other 30 NHL teams will have the chance to claim Copley for free before Thursday at noon ET. If no one claims him, he will be assigned to Hershey.
This saves the Capitals $175,000 on the NHL salary cap.
Samsonov could make his NHL debut when the Capitals visit the New York Islanders on Friday night to begin a set of back-to-backs.
By Harrison Brown