While goalie Ilya Samsonov was unable to travel to the NHL bubble in Toronto for the round robin and Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Islanders, the Capitals are hopeful for his return in time for next season.
“He’s still in DC,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said on Sunday hours after dismissing head coach Todd Reirden. “He’s had, I think, six weeks of therapy. I think we’ll evaluate him after the eight-week mark. It sounds like it’s going well. He’s planning on spending the summer here rehabbing and conditioning, so he should be ready for camp.”
After missing the playoffs due to an off-ice injury, Samsonov remained in D.C. to rehabilitate rather than returning to his home in Russia like he normally would in the offseason.
His recovery is more important than ever given the uncertainty at the goalie position next year for the Capitals. With Braden Holtby an unrestricted free agent this offseason, there is a high chance he will go elsewhere for the 2020-2021 season, meaning Samsonov would step into the starting role in only his second season in the league.
During his rookie year, Samsonov started 22 games and appeared in 26. He finished with a 16-6-2 record and a .913 save percentage on the year.
His impressive rookie campaign bodes well for the Capitals’ future - even if there were some second-half hiccups. NHL training camps don't have a set date yet for the 2020-21 season but the hope is camps can open sometime in November.