Most Minnesota Wild followers have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of Filip Gustavsson’s new contract for months at this level. However the excellent news is that this wait will likely be over no later than 48 hours after his arbitration listening to on August 4. The perfect information is that we would not have to attend that lengthy to get a good suggestion of what his contract will appear like evaluating him to Ilya Samsonov and his shiny new deal price $3.55 million.
Temporary historical past of Samsonov
Many Wild followers ought to be intimately conscious of Gustavsson’s scenario and historical past, however most haven’t got a lot details about Samsonov. The 26-year-old Russian is a 6-foot-3, 214-pound cellular goaltender who was a first-round choose by the Washington Capitals in 2015. He was named to the World Junior Championship All-Star Staff after successful a bronze medal so as to add to the silver he gained the earlier yr.
It took a couple of years within the Continental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia earlier than becoming a member of the Hershey Bears within the American Hockey League (AHL) for the 2018-19 season. The next season he made the bounce to the NHL the place he performed three seasons with the Capitals, producing various ranges of success earlier than they determined to not make him a qualifying supply, making him a free agent.
Samsonov signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2022-23 season price $1.8 million. In his 42 video games performed final season, he posted 27 wins whereas amassing a save proportion (SV%) of 0.919 and a goals-against-average (GAA) of two.65. His recreation dipped within the playoffs the place he posted a lower than ultimate .898 SV% and three.13 GAA.
Samsonov versus Gustavsson
Statistically, Gustavsson was simply the perfect goaltender final season, each within the common season and within the playoffs. His 0.931 SV% and a couple of.10 GAA have been second within the NHL behind solely Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, though he had simply 22 wins to Samsonov’s spectacular 27.
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The place Samsonov has the key benefit is within the expertise class. In 4 seasons, he has gathered 131 video games performed together with 119 begins, double Gustavsson’s 66 video games performed and 60 begins. Gustavsson’s run has been lots bumpier regardless of additionally being a extremely touted prospect, as he too picked up materials at World Juniors.
After being the fifty fifth general choose in 2016, Gustavsson gained priceless expertise within the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) earlier than becoming a member of the AHL within the 2017-18 season. After struggling within the AHL for a couple of seasons, even being despatched to the ECHL for a stint, accidents paved the best way for the NHL in 2020-21 for simply 9 video games the place he confirmed glimpses of his obtainable expertise. He bounced again between the NHL and AHL once more in 2021-22 earlier than finally being traded to the Wild and having his breakout season. Whereas the hope is that he’s simply nearly as good a goalkeeper, the fact is that there’s all the time an opportunity that he’ll battle to search out that type once more.
Impacts on nature
One of many largest components in these concerns is that regardless of a down season in 2021-22, Samsonov has been a fairly stable goalkeeper since getting into the league in 2019, giving referees a a lot larger pattern to base their resolution on. Gustavsson actually solely has final season to begin, and whereas it was very spectacular, there is no telling if he can repeat these leads to 2023-24.
Arbitrators valuing Samsonov at $3.55 million means the Wild can count on Gustavsson’s quantity to be barely decrease if he goes to arbitration. Samsonov’s expertise gave him a a lot stronger case to make on the arbitration listening to and the ultimate quantity nonetheless barely favors the Leafs. The Wild might be able to use this to their benefit and try to barter a deal within the coming weeks with the intention of avoiding the grueling arbitration course of.
The top is close to
Whereas Gustavsson had clearly been a very powerful precedence this offseason, it is price remembering that the Wild additionally must signal Calen Addison. He is in all probability eagerly ready for Gustavsson’s cap to be introduced, as his subsequent contract will likely be immediately affected by how a lot of a cap the Wild has left. With the 2 offers prone to observe one another at quick discover, the Wild’s roster will basically be set, with the one actual query mark being whether or not Marco Rossi can declare and retain a roster spot out of coaching camp.