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Washington Capitals Re-Acquire Goaltender Vitek Vanecek

Washington Capitals reunite with goaltender Vitek Vanecek after he was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft

Vitek Vanecek was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft a week ago and looked like he would be part of a decent tandem alongside Chris Driedger. That all changed when the Kraken went out and landed the top free-agent goaltender Philipp Grubauer signing him to a massive extension. With Driedger and Grubauer locked in as the team’s tandem moving forward Vanecek was expendable and eventually re-acquired by the Washington Capitals. on the first day of free agency.

Limited Goaltending Options

Goaltenders were a hot commodity on the first day of free agency and much like last year, there were a lot of moving parts and swapping of netminders across the NHL. As the first day of free agency went on there were very limited goaltenders available for teams to choose from (just ask the Colorado Avalanche). This prompted the Capitals to make a move to bring back the goaltender who started over half of the teams’ games last season.

The Seattle Kraken received a 2023 second-round pick that belongs to the Winnipeg Jets in return for Vanecek who finished last season with a .908 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average. The second-round pick the Capitals are giving up was one of the ones acquired recently in the Brenden Dillon to Winnipeg deal. The Czech native is on a very team-friendly contract for this season with a minuscule cap hit of $716,667 which is probably why the Capitals wanted him back. He will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of this season but will be reunited with his old team and should form a strong tandem alongside Ilya Samsonov in 2021-22.

Small Price to Pay for Capitals

The future second-round pick is a small price to pay considering this gives the Capitals assurance in net after a successful first season by Vanecek who carried most of the workload through Samsonov’s health issues. The team will now have to figure out with their limited remaining cap space how to re-sign RFA goaltender Samsonov which is why the price for Vanecek and his cheap cap hit was worth the price.

Next: Bruins Sign Nick Foligno and Linus Ullmark in NHL Free Agency

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