Ilya Samsonov

Ilya Samsonov

24-Year-Old GoalieG
Washington Capitals
2021 Fantasy Outlook
The stars were aligned for Ilya Samsonov to have a breakout campaign in 2020-21. Stepping out of Braden Holtby's shadow, the Russian netminder had a chance to secure a workhorse role behind a Stanley Cup capable roster, but Samsonov ended up only raising further doubts. Testing positive for COVID-19 not once but twice, the 24-year-old posted a rather pedestrian 2.69 GAA and .902 save percentage en route to a 13-4-1 record, battling the upstart Vitek Vanecek for a role he was expected to attain handily. Samsonov faces a pivotal year in his young career after securing just a one-year, $2 million extension in the offseason, and he'll be facing further competition from Vanecek. Samsonov will get another chance, but with an aging Capitals roster and stiff competition for starts, there's a large range of possible outcomes for him in 2021-22, and therefore some risk for fantasy managers. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Capitals in August of 2021.
Expected to play Friday
GWashington Capitals
October 7, 2021
Samsonov (lower body) is on the roster for Friday's preseason tilt with the Flyers.
ANALYSIS
It's unclear if Samsonov will start or how long he's expected to play but it will be his first appearance since missing practice earlier this week. The 24-year-old figures to carry most of the workload for Washington this season after registering a 2.69 GAA and a .902 save percentage in 19 games last season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
It was a tale of two seasons for Samsonov in 2019-20. He won 10 straight games from December to January but ended the regular season on a five-game losing streak, and failed to log a single minute of playing time during the Capitals' brief playoff run. At just 23 years old with 26 career starts under his belt, Samsonov's path to the top of the Capitals' depth chart will likely be more or less unhindered in 2020-21, as it's doubtful the 38-year-old Henrik Lundqvist even has the stamina required to be a starter at this stage in his career. The Capitals beefed up their defense this offseason and have made the playoffs with ease in six consecutive campaigns, so even with a few bad starts here and there, 30 wins should be manageable for Samsonov over the course of a full 82-game schedule. The 23-year-old Russian should be considered a top-10 option at his position heading into this year's fantasy drafts.
Samsonov migrated to North America in 2018-19 and acquitted himself quite well in his inaugural season with AHL Hershey, posting a 2.70 GAA and .898 save percentage behind a 20-16-1 record in 37 starts. While not eye-popping numbers, the Russian owns an excellent combination of size and skill that projects well at the NHL level should his development continue as planned. With Braden Holtby an unrestricted free agent in 2020, Samsonov's time may come soon, but the Capitals will remain patient and look to see what he can do with a heavier workload in 2019-20.
One of the premier goaltending prospects, Samsonov continued to fine-tune his game in the KHL with a 2.31 GAA and .926 save percentage en route to a 12-9-1 record over 26 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk last season. The Russian signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals in May and is expected to get a heavy workload with AHL Hershey in the 2018-19 season. With Braden Holtby firmly entrenched as the starter, Samsonov's fantasy value remains limited as long as he is buried on the depth chart, but the talented netminder owns tremendous upside in dynasty formats. Now that he's made the jump to North America, he should become a factor in standard leagues before long.
A first-round pick in 2015 and arguably the top goalie prospect in the world, Samsonov is slated for another season in the WHL, where he's already developed into one of the circuit's better goalies, having posted a 2.13 GAA and .936 save mark over 27 games last season. He did that despite playing against veteran competition while being just 19 years old for most of the campaign, which has to have his dynasty-league owners salivating about his arrival at the NHL level. Unfortunately, that’s a while away, as Samsonov won't come over to North America until 2018-19 -- and even then, the young Russian will be stuck behind Braden Holtby and perhaps Philipp Grubauer in Washington. Of course, he could also be used as a trade chip to bring the Caps a star player during the 2017-18 season; such a development would likely be a boon for Samsonov’s fantasy owners, as it might create a clearer path to playing time in his early 20s.
A somewhat surprising first-round selection by the goalie-rich Washington Capitals in 2015, Samsonov had a productive 2015-16 season with the KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Primarily playing as the backup netminder, the 19-year-old netminder managed an impressive 2.04 GAA and .925 save percentage en route to a 6-4-3 record in 19 appearances last season. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound netminder has an impressive blend of size, athleticism, and hockey IQ that remind scouts of current Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky. With Vezina Trophy-winner Braden Holtby under a reasonable contract for the foreseeable future, the Capitals have every incentive to take their time with Samsonov's development, a plan they appear to be embracing as he will be allowed to finish out the remaining two years of his KHL contract before hopefully transitioning to the North American ranks sometime after the 2018-19 season. While he has a high ceiling and a bright future, he is unlikely to demonstrate his talents at the NHL level anytime soon, although he should get a chance to showcase his skills for Team Russia at the upcoming U-20 World Junior Championships in Canada, as well as continued work in the KHL ranks.
More Fantasy News
Practicing Wednesday
GWashington Capitals
Lower Body
October 6, 2021
Samsonov (lower body) took part in Wednesday's practice, Samantha Pell of The Washington Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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Deemed day-to-day
GWashington Capitals
Lower Body
October 4, 2021
Samsonov (lower body) is considered day-to-day according to coach Peter Laviolette, Samantha Pell of The Washington Post reports.
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Not practicing Sunday
GWashington Capitals
Lower Body
October 3, 2021
Samsonov (lower body) did not take part in Sunday's practice, Samantha Pell of The Washington Post reports.
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Draws start Saturday
GWashington Capitals
October 2, 2021
Samsonov will get the start on the road Saturday against the Flyers, Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Getting preseason work Wednesday
GWashington Capitals
September 29, 2021
Samsonov will get some playing time during Wednesday's home match against the Devils, Samantha Pell of The Washington Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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