At 6’3″ ,200 pounds, and born in Magnitogorsk Russia, Ilya Samsonov came to Caps Development Camp with brand new white goalie pads. By the end of camp those pads had marks on them from pucks upon pucks being shot at the 19-year-old goaltender.
Drafted last year in the first round, Samsonov still has two years left with the KHL team Mettalura Magnitogorsk, the reining Gargarin cup champions (our Stanley Cup equivalent). All media and fans were eager to see Samsonov’s work.. Impressive indeed!
Ilya working with goalie coach Mitch Korn with Sergey Koncharv (head of Caps PR) translate for Samsonov, was truly entertaining to watch. We saw all of Coach Korn’s different ways to train. such as the goalie holding a medicine ball without their stick and making a save by dropping to their knees to strengthen their core. This was difficult for Samsonov to comprehend due to his language barrier; however, once Sergey translated, Samsonov started getting quicker and knowing what to do simply from Coach Korn’s hand movements.
As Caps Dev Camp went on, we started noticing Samsonov is very athletic and covers a large part of the net. With coaching from the likes of Mitch Korn and Olie Kolzig; (who was watching from the sidelines all week), Samsonov has the ability to take his game much further for the future. Keep your eyes on this one Caps fans!
Samsonov already has a great support system here in DC with all the Russian players. We’re sure they can help him learn the NHL-style of playing hockey and transition into living in the USA. Ilya is already getting a heads up on the English language as he recently purchased an Apple TV to learn how to speak English, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan (Washington Post, 7/1/16)Washington Post
Samsonov is locked into playing for Russia until 2018, but the future sure looks bright for this young goaltender and for Caps fans…Maybe another Vezina winner in the system!?!