Capitals elect not to issue qualifying offer to goalie Ilya Samsonov

Capitals elect not to issue qualifying offer to goalie Ilya Samsonov originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals made a surprise move on Monday and elected not to issue a qualifying offer to goaltender Ilya Samsonov. The deadline was at 5pm.

The team also extended qualifying offers to forward Damien Riat and defenseman Tobias Geisser.

Samsonov had just wrapped up his third season in Washington in which he made 44 appearances and 39 starts. He posted a .896 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average last year, both of which were career-worst marks. 

The 2015-first round draft pick entered in relief of Vitek Vanecek in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Panthers and played well enough, posting a .912 save percentage and 2.97 goals against average in five games and four starts. 

As Samsonov had arbitration rights, his price tag might have been too expensive for a team who has been searching for a No. 1 veteran goalie for months. Now, that need has grown in urgency. 

The Capitals also traded away Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils (along with a draft choice) for two selections in last week’s NHL Draft. AHL goalie Pheonix Copley is also an unrestricted free agent. As of now, just one goalie (Zach Fucale) under contract in the organization has played an NHL game.

Samsonov, 25, could indeed return as a free agent if the price fits for the Capitals, though he’s now scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency when the market opens on Wednesday at noon. But as of now, it appears likely that both of Washington’s goalies from last season will not be on the team for the start of the 2022-23 regular season. 

Washington now has not one, but two holes to fill on its goaltending depth chart come mid-week. The popular list of names include Stanley Cup champion Darcy Kuemper, who will leave Colorado for free agency, and Jack Campbell, amongst a few other interesting names on the trade market. 

But the decision to not qualify Samsonov and let him go to the open market has now made for a very interesting week in Washington.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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