Current Team: Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL
Date of Birth: February 22, 1997
Place of Birth: Magnitogorsk, Russia
Weight: 201 lbs
The goalie who is rocketing up draft boards the quickest right now might be Ilya Samsonov. He was projected as a second or third-round pick for much of the year, but some analysts believe he could be taken late in the first round. Samsonov is the top European goalie in this class, coming out of Russia, and he may even be the top goalie in the whole class. He has come up through the Russian junior circuit and represented his home country on the World Juniors stage. It might be awhile before he sees North America as he recently signed a three-year deal to play in the KHL.
Samsonov is a big, athletic netminder who just needs some more time to refine his technique. He says he models his game after his favorite player, none other than Sergei Bobrovsky. Samsonov projects to be a #1 goalie in the future, provided appropriate development takes place.
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. - Craig Button, 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." - Goran Stubb, NHL.com
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Samsonov isn't really needed in Columbus right now, and definitely not where he's being projected to be drafted. Bobrovsky is the franchise goalie for at least the next few years, and have quite a few young prospects in the pipeline. Sure, it would be nice to add a player of Samsonov's ilk, but there simply is not a dire need to add a goalie this draft and certainly not in the first couple rounds.
Samsonov in Action