The early playoff exits for the Capitals and Blues is Russia’s gain. The IIHF announced today that Russia has added winger Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis plus defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goalie Ilya Samsonov from Washington. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin declined an invitation due to injury; he missed seven of the last eight games in the regular season due to a lower-body issue which he likely still hasn’t fully recovered from.
It was a tough year for Tarasenko who missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury and then wasn’t particularly productive upon his return, notching just four goals in 24 games. He managed to pick up a pair of postseason tallies, both coming in yesterday’s 5-2 loss to Colorado. Nevertheless, he should be able to step in and be a go-to scoring threat as the tournament progresses.
As for Washington’s duo, Samsonov’s sophomore season wasn’t as strong as his first year. He had two separate stints on the COVID Protocol Related Absences List including one that made him unavailable for the first two playoff games and managed just a .902 SV% in 19 regular season appearances. Russia kept a goalie spot open presumably in case Washington was eliminated, a decision that looks wise now. Orlov, meanwhile, picked up 22 points in 51 games for the Capitals this season while chipping in with three helpers in the playoffs while seeing his playing time increase to just over 23 minutes a night. He’ll be expected to log similar minutes for Russia.
As TSN’s Gord Miller points out (Twitter link), several countries left spots open for potential late additions. Those are the following:
Canada: Five skaters
Denmark: One goaltender, five skaters
Germany: Five skaters
Russia: One skater
Switzerland: Three skaters
United States: Two skaters
Depending on what other teams get eliminated in the next few days in the playoffs, there could be some reinforcements coming for the above countries. However, they won’t be allowed to play right away and will be required to serve a six-day quarantine upon arriving in Latvia, just like Russia’s new trio of players will soon be doing.