CARTER HART VS. ILYA SAM­SONOV

They’re 1-2 in our Fu­ture Watch goalie rank­ings, but does the tale of the tape tell a dif­fer­ent story?

The Hockey News - - BUZZ - BY TOM THOMP­SON

STYLE

THIS IS THE PROPER start­ing point for a dis­cus­sion of mod­ern goalies. How are they try­ing to stop the puck? Hart uses sound fun­da­men­tals, an­tic­i­pa­tion and poise. He’s rarely out of po­si­tion and is usu­ally square to the puck. His style of play is a hy­brid of the old standup and but­ter­fly. His po­si­tion is lower than the for­mer standup pos­ture, and his legs at­tempt to block the bot­tom of the net. His up­per body is erect, which serves to smother re­bounds, and there are very few sud­den move­ments to make saves. Sam­sonov has a sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent style. His is more a hy­brid be­tween a but­ter­fly goalie and the more mod­ern pad­dle-down scram­bler. He re­lies on an­tic­i­pa­tion in the sense he wants his large body in po­si­tion so that his quick move­ments can find pucks in scram­bles or screen sit­u­a­tions. He at­tempts to make his up­per body “soft” to pre­vent re­bounds. Both of these styles can work in the mod­ern NHL. EDGE: NEI­THER

ATH­LETI­CISM

THIS ISN’T CLOSE. HART doesn’t have su­perla­tive phys­i­cal skills. His saves are based on po­si­tion­ing and tech­nique. Sam­sonov’s po­si­tion­ing is good, but not at Hart’s level. Sam­sonov re­lies on his re­mark­able quick­ness and ath­leti­cism. He can make more ex­cep­tional saves than Hart and is bet­ter able to re­act to re­bound shots when off-bal­ance. EDGE: SAM­SONOV

SIZE

HART WILL BE AN av­er­age-sized NHL goalie. His size won’t pre­vent him from play­ing, but it will never be an as­set for him. Sam­sonov looks big in the net. He has a chance to fit right in with the large young goalies who are presently per­form­ing for top NHL teams. EDGE: SAM­SONOV

RE­BOUND CON­TROL

BOTH GOALIES TRY TO ac­com­plish this im­por­tant re­quire­ment in a dif­fer­ent way. Hart is square to the puck with an erect up­per body, and his glove hand is not ex­cep­tional. Sam­sonov is of­ten not as square to the puck, but he’s great at ab­sorb­ing shots into his body. He also has much quicker re­ac­tions than Hart to swat away loose pucks. EDGE: SAM­SONOV

DEVEL­OP­MENT SIT­U­A­TION

HART HAS DE­VEL­OPED IN an ideal sit­u­a­tion. He joined an Everett team led by an ex­cel­lent coach­ing staff and is al­low­ing the fewest goals in the WHL. He broke in as a backup to a vet­eran but is now in his third sea­son as No. 1. He’s played in two world ju­nior cham­pi­onships, where he was in­con­sis­tent in the first and solid in the sec­ond. He’ll prob­a­bly play in the AHL next sea­son be­fore he se­ri­ously chal­lenges for a job with the Fly­ers. Sam­sonov has had a more un­even devel­op­ment curve. He showed real po­ten­tial in in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments and spent a good part of his pre-draft years serv­ing as a backup on one of the KHL’s top teams. He has re­cently been get­ting the ma­jor­ity of starts with Mag­ni­to­gorsk, but his game ex­pe­ri­ence in the past few sea­sons has been more lim­ited than that of Hart. A num­ber of the NHL’s top goalies have Euro­pean devel­op­ment back­grounds, in­clud­ing elite-level per­form­ers from Rus­sia like Sergei Bo­brovsky and An­drei Vasilevskiy. Still, Sam­sonov’s tran­si­tion from the KHL to the Cap­i­tals is more un­cer­tain. He must deal with fac­tors of change from rink size to life­style. EDGE: HART

PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CAL FAC­TORS

SOME CALL IT MEN­TAL tough­ness. Oth­ers pre­fer char­ac­ter or grit. I like the term “per­son­al­ity.” It’s an in­te­gral com­po­nent of the makeup of any suc­cess­ful ath­lete. Does he have the proper per­son­al­ity to com­pete fe­ro­ciously? To over­come in­evitable ob­sta­cles? To bounce back from ad­ver­sity? To in­ter­act well with team­mates? These traits are more im­por­tant for goalies than for other play­ers. Nu­mer­ous tal­ented prospect goal­tenders have “crashed and burned” en route to the NHL be­cause of fac­tors that had noth­ing to do with phys­i­cal tal­ent. And many es­tab­lished NHL goalies have been ren­dered in­ef­fec­tive for pe­ri­ods of time when they “lost their con­fi­dence” or were “fight­ing the puck.” Hart and Sam­sonov both im­pressed me per­son­ally when they were el­i­gi­ble for the draft, and feed­back I re­ceived from peo­ple with on­go­ing knowl­edge of the two in­di­cates they are both top-qual­ity young men who will go as far as their tal­ent al­lows. EDGE: NEI­THER

CON­CLU­SION

I IN­VITE YOU TO look at the phys­i­cal at­tributes of many of the top goalies in the NHL. Con­sider the size of Bo­brovsky, Vasilevskiy, Ben Bishop, Carey Price, De­van Dub­nyk, Martin Jones and Fred­erik An­der­sen, to name a few. They not only pos­sess height but also have power in their move­ments. They’re able to fend off play­ers jam­ming the crease, find shots and loose pucks in traf­fic and “make them­selves big” for shots they can an­tic­i­pate but not re­ally see. Sam­sonov has these at­tributes. Hart does not. In scram­ble sit­u­a­tions, an NHL goalie of­ten has to re­spond with light­ning-quick re­flexes to shots that have been de­flected or to re­bounds that sud­denly are cre­ated in dan­ger­ous ar­eas. Sam­sonov is bet­ter able to re­act to these sit­u­a­tions than Hart is. Hart is con­sis­tent, fun­da­men­tally sound and con­trols re­bounds well. He should be a ca­reer NHL goalie, but his phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions may pre­vent him from ris­ing to the elite level. Sam­sonov does not have these lim­i­ta­tions. He has a bet­ter chance of be­com­ing a star. Tom Thomp­son has been an NHL scout/di­rec­tor/as­sis­tant GM since 1985.

CARTER HART

ILYA SAM­SONOV

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