The KHL playoffs are underway.
Goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov's Metallurg Magnitogorsk entered the postseason as the fifth seed in the East. With starting goalie Vasily Koshechkin returning from the Olympics, Samsonov ended up starting Games 1 and 2 against Avtomobilist. He played well winning the first game and turning aside 52 of the 56 total shots he faced (.929 save percentage) in the process.
The series now stands tied at 2.
Samsonov is in the final year of his contract meaning when his season is done, he could, in theory, come to North America.
Let's get this out of the way: Samsonov will not be replacing either Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer in Washington this season. Yes, goaltending has become an issue for the Caps over the past month, but the solution is not a 21-year-old goalie who has never played the North American game.
So what does Samsonov's short-term future hold?
Potentially, Samsonov could come to North America after the KHL season ends and play in Hershey. A few games in Hershey and a few weeks of practice could help his transition when he makes the full-time jump next season, as is expected.
There are just two problems. First, Samsonov's team has to lose. Second, there are only 16 games remaining in the regular season for Hershey and they are not going to make the playoffs.
If Samsonov loses in the first round, there is a slight chance we could see him in Hershey this spring, but it seems far more likely his North America debut will not take place until the fall.
Other prospect notes:
- Conference hockey tournaments are underway in college. The big story for Caps fans is the North Dakota vs. Nebraska in the quarterfinal round of the NCHC Playoffs. That matchup pits prospect Shane Gersich against Steven Spinner. The series will be best two out of three.
- Forward Brian Pinho will lead Providence against Maine in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. They will play a best of three series.
- Defenseman Benton Maass' season has come to an end after New Hampshire was swept in two games by Maine. in his first collegiate season, Maass registered four goals and 13 assists in 36 games.
- Bears defenseman Connor Hobbs took a high hit from Lehigh Valley's Nicolas Aube-Kubel in Friday's game. He missed both of Hershey's remaining two games over the weekend with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. Aube-Kubel was suspended two games for the hit.
Here's a look at the Aube-Kubel hit. Does he leave his feet? Hard to tell...maybe barely.— Bob Rotruck (@BobRotruck) March 4, 2018
Hobbs still has puck (passed barely a moment before contact).
Driving shoulder into chin and going upward with it appears to be the issue here. pic.twitter.com/yVLOMBvQwJ
- Forward Tim McGauley, who was recently called up to Hershey from the ECHL, recorded an assist in the Bears' shootout loss on Sunday. The assist is the first AHL point of McGauley's career.
- Forward Kris Bindulis scored the overtime winner for the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday. Of his four goals this season, two of them have been overtime winners.
- Adam Carlson is thriving with his new ECHL team, the Kansas City Mavericks. He made two starts over the weekend and won both, stopping 66 of 71 shots he faced (.930 save percentage). Head coach John-Scott Dickson spoke glowingly of the team's goalies saying, "With Carlson and Mavric (Parks) we have two young goalies who are getting better with each start. We're all excited to see what they do the rest of the season."
- Garrett Pilon finished a strong February for Everett in the WHL. He led the team in points with 15 (eight goals, seven assists).