Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden told the media that goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who will be the team’s backup goaltender this season, will make his NHL debut on Friday night when the team visits the New York Islanders (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington).
Caps coach Todd Reirden said plan is for goalie Ilya Samsonov to make his NHL debut Friday at Islanders.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) October 2, 2019
The Capitals announced on Wednesday that Samsonov made the opening night roster and they placed last year’s backup, Pheonix Copley, on waivers.
Samsonov, 22, was 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.
With Samsonov starting against the Islanders, starter Braden Holtby will likely get the nod when the Capitals host the Carolina Hurricanes in their home opener on Saturday night (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington).
In two preseason games in September, Samsonov allowed three goals on 32 shots (.906 save percentage).
By Harrison Brown