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What others are saying about Caps' top pick

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What others are saying about Caps' top pick

While the Capitals’ amateur scouts continue sifting through their draft charts for today’s second day of the NHL draft, here are a few more nuggets on goaltender Ilya Samsonov, the goaltender they took Friday night with the 22nd pick:

Last season: Samsonov finished the 2014-15 regular season with an 11-4-1 record, 2.66 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and two shutouts with Magnitogorsk in the Russian junior league. He also appeared in one game for Mike Keenan’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Internationally: Samsonov recorded a 46-save shutout in the bronze-medal game at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge to lead Russia to a 2-0 win over Canada East. Overall, he finished the tournament with a 2-1-0 record, 1.67 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. He recorded two wins and a .942 save percentage to earn top goaltender honors at the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations tournament. He also represented Russia at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Likens himself to: Samsonov’s favorite player is Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who went undrafted. He said he also models his game after Montreal’s Cary Price and Tampa’s Ben Bishop.

Historic hometown: Samsonov hails from Magnitogorsk, Russia, the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and New York Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin.

What they’re saying:   

“Combines essential elements of size and athletic ability to be imposing in the net and make scoring difficult. He is very aware and reads the play well and is quick to close down the net. An ultra competitor who never gives up on a play. With normal technical refinement, he can become a star.” – TSN

“He has good size and covers the net well. He plays at the top of the crease and effectively squares to the shooter. He shows good instincts, is well-balanced and can make acrobatic saves.” NHL.com

“Don’t be surprised if someone breaks from recent tradition and uses a number one pick on this goaltender. Best goalie of the bunch at this point so far. Is fundamentally sound but can also abandon structure to ‘just make a save.’ Already has NHL size for a goaltender.” - Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek

“Samsonov wowed scouts with his play in Russia’s junior hockey league this past season, where he sported a 2.66 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage to go along with an 11-4-1 record. He also turned in some spectacular play at the Under-18 Five Nations tournament, World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and World Junior A Challenge.” - Sportsnet’s Scott Lewis

“Samsonov is one of many good goaltender prospects who have come out of Russia lately. He is considered by some to be the best one since Andrei Vasilevsky. His big size and the ability to make big saves impresses scouts the most. Although there are concerns about his consistency and the fact that he barely competed against top competitors, Samsonov has the talent to become a starting goalie at the NHL level.”— Hockey Prospectus’ Dennis Schellenberg

MORE CAPITALS: A CLOSER LOOK AT SAMSONOV

 

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page