Great reinforcement for the Capitals and for the Kings
USA – July 16, 2018
Russian goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov has signed a three-year contract with the Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitals.
Samsonov will probably become a backup for Braden Holtby, after Philipp Grubauer, the previous second goalie for the team, was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
"If I didn't feel ready for this League I wouldn't have made this step forward and come here," Samsonov said through a translator. "I understand that I have a lot to learn here, and I'm ready to learn and progress. Of course I feel confident, and I really want to make it with the Capitals."
Samsonov went 12-9-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and three shutouts in 26 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk last KHL season, but it will no doubt take him some time to adjust to playing in the narrower North American rink (85 feet wide compared to 100 feet on the Olympic-size rink).
Prominent Russian forward, Olympic champion of PyeongChang and the best sniper in the history of the Atlanta Thrashers Ilya Kovalchuk is returning to NHL. He has signed a 3-year contract with one of the most successful teams in recent years, the LA Kings.
"When I was making my decision, it was all about hockey because I have three, four years left in my tank where I can really play at a high level," Kovalchuk said. "L.A. has a great group of guys, great goaltending, great defense. They have one of the best centers in the League. I never have a chance to play with those type of guys, so it's really exciting for me and it's great. That was the reason why I came, because they have guys who know how to win and they are really hungry to win."
The 35-year-old forward last played in the NHL in the 2012-13 season, when he had 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 37 games with the New Jersey Devils.