SUNRISE — There wasn’t one last year, or the year before.
But this year, we got one — with the 22nd pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Washington broke the mold and selected Russian netminder Ilya Samsonov from KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Samsonov, 18, was one of the Russian league’s top junior-age goalies this season, and appeared in one game for the senior Metallurg squad. At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, his size and athletic ability put him out in front among draft-eligible goalies this season.
As mentioned above, we haven’t had a goalie go in the first round for quite a while. Calgary took Mason McDonald 34th overall in 2014 and, the year prior, Montreal took Zachary Fucale with the 36th pick. The last goalies to go in Round 1 were both in 2012, when Andrei Vasilevskiy went No. 19 to Tampa Bay and Malcolm Subban went at 24 to Boston.
It’ll be interesting to hear why Caps GM Brian MacLellan opted to go this route. His starter, Braden Holtby, is still just 25 years old and the new backup, Philipp Grubauer, doesn’t turn 24 until the fall. That said, it’s been an awfully long time since the team drafted a goalie — three years ago, the Caps took Sergei Kostenko in the seventh round.