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Will Canadiens Pursue Goalie Ilya Samsonov Again?



Ilya Samsonov

Will the Montreal Canadiens pursue 25-year-old goalie Ilya Samsonov again when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday at noon?

The Washington Capitals declined to make a qualifying offer to the goalie they drafted 22nd overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and 31 NHL teams can now sign Samsonov at or after noon tomorrow. Here’s what Washington Capitals team sources told our colleague Sammi Silber on why they decided to not submit a qualifying offer to Samsonov:

‘Per the Capitals, the decision was a financial one. Samsonov had arbitration rights, and the team projected that his next deal would come in the $3-3.5 million AAV range following a one-year, $2 million bridge deal for 2021-22. In Washington’s eyes, it was too expensive for a backup, and too expensive given his performance. The team also relayed that it wanted to go in a different direction.’

Just over a month before the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline, J-F Chaumont of the Journal De Montreal reported that the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals had NHL trade discussions involving Ilya Samsonov.

Montreal Hockey Now later confirmed that the Montreal Canadiens did discuss a trade for Ilya Samsonov and after another first round exit for the Capitals, big changes are expected, especially between the pipes. Should the Habs circle back on the 25-year-old Samsonov, who went 23-12-5 with a 3.02 GAA and .896 save-percentage in the regular season and then 1-3 with a 2.37 GAA and .912 save percentage in the six-game series loss to the Florida Panthers?

“I don’t see why not,” one NHL goalie coach said. “I know I’m telling my GM to go after him. Think about it, this is still a 25-year-old first round pick. Overall he hasn’t been that bad and maybe he just needs a change of scenery. Goalie always take a while to develop. You can buy low here and really be rewarded if you can get through to him and he becomes the stud lots of scouts thought he could be.”

In 89 NHL appearances, Ilya Samsonov is 52-22-8 with a 2.81 GAA and .902 save percentage. Samsonov’s problems have been mainly limited to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s 1-6 in the postseason with 2.98 GAA and .907 save percentage.

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