After not receiving a qualifying offer from the Washington Capitals, goaltender Ilya Samsonov hit free agency for the first time in his still young career. And there, the 2015 first-round selection received a lot of attention before landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Samsonov told the Toronto media that he received multi-year offers from other clubs around the league. However, he landed on a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs at $1.8 million.
“You know it’s good for me and good for team,” Samsonov said. “I was talking with Kyle Dubas, and we said maybe we try one year. Everybody know we want to win Stanley Cup. It’s a good opportunity for me; this is what they want, help for team and look to future.”
This will be Samsonov’s first year with a different NHL team than Washington. He is coming off a rough go-of-it that saw him experience inconsistency. He wasn’t able to find his game or take sole possession of the No. 1 spot while competing with Vitek Vanecek, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils. In 44 games last season, Samsonov went 23-12-5 with a .896 save percentage and 3.02 GAA. In six playoff games, he had a .912 SV%. In 89 career NHL games, Samsonov is 79-52-22 with a .902 save percentage and 2.81 GAA.
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The 25-year-old trained in Florida over the offseason and told reporters that he skated with Igor Shesterkin while working with his new Toronto goalie coach Curtis Sanford. He is hoping to finally capture consistency as he forms a 1A/1B tandem with Matt Murray. The two already “talk all the time,” as Samsonov mentioned in his presser.
Samsonov also rocked new gear and his new No. 35 on the opening day of training camp.
Ilya Samsonov's new equipment. pic.twitter.com/RinftsISZq
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) September 22, 2022
Meanwhile, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren are officially in D.C. and are forming Washington’s new tandem.