Capitals’ Ilya Samsonov Does Not File For Salary Arbitration; Red Wings’ Jakub Vrana Among 17 Players That Did

Photo: NBC Sports

Washington Capitals goaltender and restricted free agent Ilya Samsonov did not file for salary arbitration by Sunday’s 5 PM ET deadline to do so. Because he did not file for arbitration, it is assumed that Samsonov feels he and the Capitals are close to agreeing on a final extension value and term.

Samsonov is coming off of his entry-level contract, which paid him $925,000 in each of the past three seasons (plus bonuses). The Capitals extended a qualifying offer to Samsonov earlier this week, which by rule is at minimum equal to his previous annual salary plus 5%.

The two sides will continue to negotiate towards a final value in the coming days. He will likely be re-signed for around $1.5 million per year, give or take. The Capitals could also try to extend Samsonov at a slightly higher value over a longer term in hopes of attaining overall savings over the next few years.

The Capitals currently have $2,668,740 in salary cap space to sign Samsonov after signing captain Alex Ovechkin to a five-year contract that carries a $9.5 million cap hit on Tuesday and trading defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for two second-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 NHL Drafts on Monday.

After going 16-8-2 with a .913 save percentage, a 2.55 goals-against average, and one shutout in his rookie season, the 24-year-old went 13-4-1 with a .902 save percentage, a 2.69 goals-against average, and two shutouts last year in an inconsistent season where he was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol twice.

Samsonov, who is currently the Capitals’ lone restricted free agent, also went 0-3 with an .899 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average in the team’s first-round series loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Other Contract News

Detroit Red Wings and former Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana was among the 17 players that did file for salary arbitration. The 25-year-old recorded 49 goals and 99 points in 151 games with the Capitals from 2018-19 before tallying 11 goals and 25 points in 39 games with the team this past season. He was then dealt to the Red Wings as part of a deal to acquire left wing Anthony Mantha on April 12, where he earned eight goals and 11 points in 11 games.

Vrana played the final season of a two-year contract that paid him $3.35 million per season.

Other notable players to file for salary arbitration include New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech, Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov, and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros. Former Capitals and current St. Louis Blues left wing Zach Sanford, who finished the final year of a two-year contract that paid him $1.5 million per season, also filed.

Here is the full list of players who filed:

As of note, former Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s five-year contract that carries a $5.9 million cap hit with the Seattle Kraken signed on Wednesday was rejected by the NHL central registry because the $1.5 million increase in salary between 2022-23 and 2023-24 exceeds 25% of the salary that Grubauer will make this season.

The contract needs to be restructured and resubmitted

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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