Examining The Starts To Seasons For Ilya Samsonov Prior to Joining Washington Capitals


It has been a difficult start to the 2020-21 season for Capitals’ goalie, Ilya Samsonov, whose first two games were not up to his usual standards. He then tested positive for COVID-19, had to miss time for recovery and then needed additional time for conditioning with the Hershey Bears.

Many fans recall how he had a difficult first half of the season when he first came over to North America to play for the Bears. NoVa Caps decided to continue analyzing Samsonov’s starts to seasons, with particular attention being paid to his KHL career. His first game in the KHL was during the 2014-15 season, but given the fact that he only played in one game that season, the game will be ignored for purposes of this assessment.

This analysis will start with the 2015-16 season, which was the first year that he spent the vast majority of the season in the KHL and only a handful of games with their MHL affiliate. Playoff games and international competition will not be considered for this analysis.

2015-16 Season

For the 2015-16 season, Samsonov appeared in 19 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, posting a record of 6-4-3. Those 19 games included three games where he had a token appearance. Samsonov had several other games where he played just over half the game or 2/3 of the game.

After 10 games, his save percentage was .928. His final save percentage for the season ended up at .925. His weakest stretch was from December 2, 2015  through January 18, 2016, where his appearances were sporadic. He was sent back briefly to the MHL after that. His performance improved upon his return to the KHL. In that season, he did not exhibit a pronounced slow start.

Nr Date Shots GA Save W/L Game Sv% Ov Sve%
1 9/15/2015
2 9/20/2015 25 2 23 W 0.920 0.920
3 10/2/2015 16 1 15 0.938 0.927
4 10/9/2015 14 1 13 L 0.929 0.927
5 10/12/2015 20 1 19 W 0.950 0.933
6 10/14/2015 1 1 1.000 0.934
7 10/24/2015 13 1 12 0.923 0.933
8 10/26/2015 30 30 W 1.000 0.950
9 10/28/2015 36 5 31 L 0.861 0.929
10 11/21/2015 25 2 23 OTW 0.920 0.928
11 11/25/2015 0.928
12 11/27/2015 36 2 34 W 0.944 0.931
13 11/30/2015 26 26 W 1.000 0.938
14 12/2/2015 11 3 8 0.727 0.929
15 1/18/2016 20 4 16 0.800 0.919
16 1/29/2016 32 1 31 0.969 0.925
17 2/5/2016 32 3 29 W 0.906 0.923
18 2/16/2016 29 1 28 L 0.966 0.926
19 2/18/2016 20 2 18 OTW 0.900 0.925
Total 386 29 357 0.925

2016-17 Season

For the 2016-17 season, Samsonov appeared in 27 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, posting a record of 15-3-5. Those 26 games included five games where he had a token appearance, as in two minutes or less.

After his first nine appearances, his save percentage was .914. After his first fourteen appearances through the game of 11/19/2016, which included three token appearances and three other partial game appearances, his save percentage was .928.

After 18 games; i.e. the 2/3 mark, his save percentage was .934. His final save percentage for the season was .936.  He definitely was off to a slow start that season, judging from this first nine games and his subsequent improvement.

Nr Date Shots GA Save W/L Game Sv% Ov Sve%
1 9/13/2016 11 2 9 W 0.818 0.818
2 9/15/2016 5 1 4 0.800 0.875
3 9/20/2016 26 2 24 W 0.923 0.881
4 9/23/2016 39 1 38 W 0.974 0.926
5 9/26/2016 30 1 29 W 0.967 0.937
6 10/1/2016 13 3 10 0.769 0.919
7 10/4/2016 SOP 0.919
8 10/6/2016 11 2 9 0.818 0.911
9 10/13/2016 17 1 16 W 0.941 0.914
10 10/26/2016 34 2 32 W 0.941 0.919
11 11/8/2016 SOP 0.919
12 11/10/2016 SOP 0.919
13 11/12/2016 36 3 33 W 0.917 0.919
14 11/19/2016 43 1 42 W 0.977 0.928
15 11/21/2016 35 35 W 1.000 0.937
16 11/23/2016 39 1 38 W 0.974 0.941
17 11/25/2016 35 4 31 W 0.886 0.936
18 11/29/2016 35 3 32 L 0.914 0.934
19 12/8/2016 11 11 W 1.000 0.936
20 1/13/2017 23 23 W 1.000 0.951
21 1/15/2017 26 2 24 W 0.923 0.938
22 1/18/2017 44 4 40 L 0.909 0.936
23 1/25/2017 39 3 36 L 0.923 0.935
24 1/29/2017 0.935
25 2/1/2017 46 4 42 W 0.913 0.933
26 2/3/2017 SOP 0.933
27 2/17/2017 31 31 SOP 1.000 0.936
Totals 629 40 589 0.936

2017-18 Season

For the 2017-18 season, Samsonov appeared in 26 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, posting a record of 12-9-1. The 27 games included three games where he had played in six minutes or less and two games where he only played about half of the game.

His save percentage was .920 after nine games, including games through 10/1/2017. This was after three strong performances, as his save percentage after six games, through 9/24/2017, was .886.

After 14 games, which included two token appearances, his save percentage was .914, as he was going through a relatively rough stretch during October 2017. After 18 games, through 12/21/2017, his save percentage was also .914.

Samsonov got stronger during the last third of the season as he ended up with an overall save percentage of .926. Overall, his season had a rough start, but he rebounded, then there was a rough stretch through October and November.

Nr Date Shots GA Save W/L Game Sv% Ov Sve%
1 8/27/2017 26 4 22 L 0.846 0.846
2 9/5/2017 29 2 27 W 0.931 0.891
3 9/8/2017 24 3 21 W 0.875 0.886
4 9/15/2017 30 4 26 L 0.867 0.881
5 9/22/2017 14 1 13 L 0.929 0.886
6 9/24/2017 35 4 31 W 0.886 0.886
7 9/26/2017 42 2 40 L 0.952 0.900
8 9/28/2017 48 2 46 W 0.958 0.911
9 10/1/2017 28 0 28 W 1.000 0.920
10 10/6/2017 2 2 1.000 0.921
11 10/8/2017 32 1 31 W 0.969 0.926
12 10/10/2017 19 4 15 0.789 0.918
13 10/16/2017 0.918
14 10/18/2017 42 5 37 L 0.881 0.914
15 10/24/2017 25 3 22 L 0.880 0.912
16 11/2/2017 2 2 1.000 0.912
17 11/22/2017 30 4 26 L 0.867 0.909
18 12/21/2017 35 1 34 W 0.971 0.914
19 12/25/2017 40 4 36 L 0.900 0.913
20 12/27/2017 34 1 33 W 0.971 0.916
21 1/3/2018 23 2 21 L 0.913 0.916
22 1/9/2018 17 1 16 L 0.941 0.917
23 1/18/2018 22 22 W 1.000 0.920
24 1/22/2018 32 1 31 W 0.969 0.922
25 2/27/2018 35 35 W 1.000 0.926
26 3/1/2018 25 2 23 W 0.920 0.926
691 51 640 0.926

2018-19 Season

For the 2018-19 season, Samsonov played with the Hershey Bears in the AHL, posting a record of 20-14-3. His save percentage after ten games was .869. After twenty games, the approximate midpoint of the season, he had a save percentage of .871, which was after the game of 1/19/2019.

First 24 Games In North America

After 29 games, around the three quarters mark, his save percentage was .893. His final save percentage for the 2018-19 season was .898.  In judging by quarters of the season, he appeared to improve each quarter, with the second quarter slightly better than first quarter but a more dramatic improvement during third quarter and more improvement during fourth quarter.

Nr Date Shots GA Save W/L Game Sv% Ov Sv%
1 10/6/2018 31 3 28 L 0.903 0.903
2 10/12/2018 26 5 21 L 0.808 0.860
3 10/14/2018 28 4 24 L 0.857 0.859
4 10/27/2018 22 3 19 W 0.864 0.860
5 11/2/2018 36 2 34 W 0.944 0.881
6 11/3/2018 34 4 30 L 0.882 0.881
7 11/10/2018 33 2 31 W 0.939 0.890
8 11/11/2018 30 7 23 L 0.767 0.875
9 11/23/2018 29 6 23 L 0.793 0.866
10 11/28/2018 29 3 26 L 0.897 0.869
11 12/1/2018 18 4 14 L 0.778 0.864
12 12/8/2018 31 3 28 W 0.903 0.867
13 12/15/2018 23 5 18 L 0.783 0.862
14 12/22/2018 30 6 24 L 0.800 0.858
15 12/30/2018 23 1 22 W 0.957 0.863
16 1/6/2019 18 3 15 L 0.833 0.862
17 1/11/2019 12 2 10 0.833 0.861
18 1/12/2019 18 18 W 1.000 0.866
19 1/16/2019 16 16 W 1.000 0.871
20 1/19/2019 25 3 22 W 0.880 0.871
21 1/21/2019 21 1 20 W 0.952 0.874
22 1/23/2019 26 1 25 OTL 0.962 0.878
23 2/2/2019 22 1 21 W 0.955 0.881
24 2/6/2019 37 2 35 W 0.946 0.885
25 2/10/2019 30 1 29 W 0.967 0.889
26 2/16/2019 30 2 28 W 0.933 0.891
27 2/23/2019 23 2 21 W 0.913 0.892
28 2/27/2019 29 1 28 W 0.966 0.895
29 3/2/2019 17 3 14 L 0.824 0.893
30 3/9/2019 34 3 30 OTL 0.882 0.892
31 3/13/2019 29 3 26 W 0.897 0.893
32 3/16/2019 19 1 18 W 0.947 0.894
33 3/23/2019 37 4 33 L 0.892 0.894
34 3/30/2019 29 1 28 W 0.966 0.896
35 4/4/2019 17 17 W 1.000 0.898
36 4/6/2019 31 5 26 L 0.839 0.896
37 4/14/2019 24 1 23 W 0.958 0.898
Totals 967 98 868 0.898

Conclusion

In his initial full KHL season of 2015-16, Samsonov did not get off to a slow start. But during his 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons in the KHL, he performed better in the latter half of the season than he did during the first half. That was certainly the pattern with the Hershey Bears as he improved over the course of each quarter and improved dramatically from the first half to the second half of the season.

Further Reading
Ilya Samsonov: First 24 Games In North America: Adaptation, Education and Sticking To The Script
Back In Business: Ilya Samsonov Records First Victory Since January 14 in 3-2 Win Over the New Jersey Devils
Hershey Bears Regular Season Review: A Tale of Two Seasons
Capitals Goaltending Prospect Ilya Samsonov Shining in the KHL
Caps Grab Goalie in First Round 2015 Draft
Capitals Sign Goaltender Ilya Samsonov to Three Year Entry Level Contract
Elite Prospects Profile of Ilya Samsonov
KHL Player Page: Ilya Samsonov

Statistics were obtained from the KHL website and The AHL website.

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
This entry was posted in AHL, Goaltending, Hershey Bears, History, News, NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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