Murray: Sabres Are Interested in Ilya Samsonov

It’s a given who the Sabres will take with the first of their two 1st round draft picks on June 26. What the Sabres do with their second pick at #21 overall is another matter. Many have speculated that the team may trade the pick, an option that Murray has talked about recently and is still on the table under the right circumstances. Yet, GM Tim Murray is being oddly specific about his interests at #21, a pick acquired from the New York Islanders in the Thomas Vanek trade last year.

Among the players he’s looking at, top-rated goaltender Ilya Samsonov, according to Bill Hoppe of the Times Herald. Murray hopes to pick a goaltender this month and there’s a keen interest in the 6-foot-3 goaltender who recently signed a three-year deal with the KHL’s Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.

Ilya Samsonov
(Ilya Samsonov. Photo:

Samsonov wasn’t at the draft combine, so teams that are interested in drafting him have had to go the extra mile. Murray said that the Sabres sent scouts to Detroit this week to spend a couple of days with him and watch him play. Murray noted that his absence at the combine means that the number of teams who have done their homework on him is limited and may mean that there are only a few teams willing to spend their first round — maybe an early second round — pick on Samsonov. Via Hoppe’s piece:

“We sent two people to Detroit this week that spent three days with him and watched him on the ice,” he said. “I know that a couple other teams did, but all 30 teams weren’t there.”

Murray also isn’t bothered by his recent KHL contract and believes that Samsonov would be able to develop properly playing for Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.

“The one position there that that league probably doesn’t bother me as much as others is goaltending. You still get shots, you still get coaching. He’s still a big athletic guy that was a great interview with our guys that went down there and he has his head on his shoulders.

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft takes place in Sunrise, Florida on June 26-27.

RELATED: Breaking Down Eichel’s Decision: Buffalo vs. BU

[catlist categorypage=”yes” numberposts=3 excludeposts=this]