Rumors have been swirling about the potential sign and trade of Washington Capitals back up goaltender Phillip Grubauer. All signs show he already has one foot out the door and into another organization in the coming days. The Flyers, Hurricane, Flames, Islanders seem to be the top landing places for Grubauer who is looking to have a full time starting role going forward. Phillip went 15-10-3 in a season with a 2.35 goals against average and .923 save percentage. With those numbers a goalie deserves a look.
If Grubauer were to get traded there are two most likely replacements. The most likely of the two would be Hershey Bears starting goaltender Pheonix Copley. The second, rookie netminder Ilya Samsonov.
Copley suffered a serious lower body injury (groin) at the end of the 2016-17 season and it clearly affected his season. In the early parts of the 2016-17 season, Copley managed a 2.15 GAA and .931 with Hershey in 16 games after coming over from the Chicago Wolves in a trade deadline deal. He was considered Washington’s number 3 goalie this season and was recalled for the playoffs as an emergency backup behind Grubauer.
Copley, played last season with the Caps AHL affiliate Hershey Bears. He had a tough roller coaster season with a 2.91 goals against average and .896 save percentage in 41 games. Copley’s career includes only two NHL games.
The other internal candidate that the fans are hoping to see next season is Ilya Samsonov. Ilya was the Capitals 2015 first-round draft pick that has done extremely well so far in the KHL as a teenager.
Samsonov, 21, signed an entry-level contract with Washington in May and will make the jump from the KHL to North America next season. But don’t expect to see Samsonov backing up Holtby to start the NHL season.
Samsonov will be adjusting to the North American game and the smaller North American rink. Because of that, the quotes from MacLellan make it quite clear that he believes Samsonov would benefit from time in the AHL before making the jump to the NHL.
Projections for goaltenders in the Capitals organization
Washington – Holtby/Copley
South Carolina- Milner