Report: Samsonov To Sign Contract With Maple Leafs After Capitals Do Not Qualify Him

After the Washington Capitals did not qualify restricted free agent goaltender Ilya Samsonov on Monday, which made him an unrestricted free agent, the 25-year-old signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. 

Samsonov, who required a $2.2 million cap hit on his qualifying offer (110% of his $2 million cap hit last season to be retained by the Capitals, finished the 2021-22 regular season 23-12-5 with an .896 save percentage, a 3.02 goals-against average, and three shutouts, despite an 11-1-1 start where he posted a .916 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average, and three shutouts through December 9.

The Capitals’ 22nd overall pick in 2015’s NHL career got off to a strong start in 2019-20 as he went 15-2-1 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average through the NHL All-Star Break. However, things fell off from there as he went 1-4-1 with an .873 save percentage and a 4.11 goals-against average after the All-Star break. He missed the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs after an ATV accident during the NHL Pause.

In 2020-21, Samsonov got COVID-19 a week into the season and finished the year with a 13-4-1 record, .902 save percentage, a 2.69 goals-against average, and two shutouts. He started the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on COVID-19 protocol again before going 1-2 with an .899 save percentage and 2.99 goals-against average in the last three games, which included two very careless goals-against in overtime and an elimination game, of the tournament.

Samsonov finished this past season as the Capitals’ starter after Vitek Vanecek was pulled after five periods in the first round against the Florida Panthers. He posted a .912 save percentage and 2.97 goals-against average in the series.

The Capitals traded Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils on Friday and will enter the upcoming season with an entirely new goalie tandem.

The Maple Leafs also acquired goaltender Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Samsonov and the Maple Leafs will host the Capitals for their opening night on Thursday, October 13. Samsonov will visit Capital One Arena for the first time as a Maple Leaf on Saturday, December 17.

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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10 Responses to Report: Samsonov To Sign Contract With Maple Leafs After Capitals Do Not Qualify Him

  1. Anonymous says:

    He’s gonna tear it up for the Leafs, I just know it. 😬

  2. Anonymous says:

    Adios!

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    I worry about him and the Toronto media. 😬 All of his fluky ailments and questionable decisions could be the perfect storm.

  4. Lance says:

    It’s the right time to move on from Sammy. He has the physical skills to be a top 8 NHL goalie but he hasn’t been able to get his head right.

    In Toronna he’ll either be great or be crushed by the pressure. Good luck to him when he’s not playing the Caps.

  5. Rick Hixenbaugh says:

    I’m flabbergasted by the Caps entire off season clown show. Front office has apparently fingered the crease as being Caps most glaring weakness. I strongly disagree. The inexplicable abandonment (by the players ?) of a proven, winning style of play (for something much less structured) has repeatedly plagued Caps since they won The Cup ! Sammy definitely has some serious, ingrained flaws to his game (that current coaches can’t seem to fix) but IMO…moving Vanecek will prove to be the big mistake ! When Vitek shines..NHL analysts (the good ones as well as the pretenders) will be absolutely ROASTING the Caps for that trade…maybe so much that heads will roll. I Can’t wait !

  6. Anonymous says:

    He’s gonna be a star in Toronto, isn’t he?

    • steven says:

      I look at it like this sometimes a player gets his head snapped back on when he goes to a new environment. In this case the pressure to win and win now and his lack of maturity may just prevent him from doing anything. I thinkthat is whu Toronto only gave him a 1 year deal. Nothing vetured nothing gaines and on a 1 year deal nothing really lost if he does nothing and he will then be back on the market next summer.

  7. Rob says:

    He’s used to getting knocked out in the 1st round. Should be a good fit in Toronto.

    • steven says:

      true, however I dont see toronto putting up with his shenanigans. Maybe this is the kick in the arse that he needs to get right or maybe it will just increase his lack or maturity and he will be on the market again next summer. I think Toronto looked at him and said well if he can get right in the head then we ahve a goalie if not he is gone after 1 year as nothing is really lost.

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