Capitals, G Samsonov agree on 1-year, $2M pact

NHL

The Washington Capitals re-signed goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million contract on Monday.

Samsonov, 24, was a restricted free agent after posting a 13-4-1 mark last season with two shutouts. He struggled in the postseason — much like most of the Capitals did — dropping all of his three playoff starts in Washington’s first-round loss to the Boston Bruins.

This season, he will again compete for playing time in Washington with Vitek Vanecek, 25, who was taken in the expansion draft by the Seattle Kraken, only to be reacquired by Washington.

Selected by Washington at No. 22 overall in 2015, Samsonov’s season was paused twice this year due to COVID-19 protocols. He is 29-10-3 with a 2.61 goals-against average for his career, finishing second in wins among rookies in 2019-20 with 16.

The Capitals, still equipped with much of the core that helped the franchise win its first Stanley Cup in 2018, are content to be young in net, with much of their salary cap tied into their skaters.

Washington has been looking for potential suitors for a trade to take center Evgeny Kuznetsov — and his salary — off its hands, but he remains on the roster for now. He has four more seasons on his deal at $7.8 million against the cap per year.

The Capitals re-signed Alex Ovechkin when free agency opened this summer, giving him a deal that will pay him $9.5 million against the cap for the next five seasons, so eventually the team will need to free up some space for additional moves.

In the interim, the club can rest easy knowing its goaltender situation is fiscally responsible. With Samsonov at a $2 million price tag, and Vanecek at $716,667, the club has one of the more economical tandems in the NHL.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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