Washington Capitals: Vitek Vanecek Once Again the Answer In-Net

Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals need help between the pipes. Ilya Samsonov was supposed to be the guy, maybe he still is, but some questionable decisions off the ice have allowed doubt to creep in over the past two seasons. Vitek Vanecek stepped up and solidified the position last season for the Caps when nobody expected him to. Then, the Seattle Kraken selected Vitek Vanecek in the expansion draft.  

Now, just days after the draft, the Kraken signed former Colorado Avalanche goaltender, Philip Grubauer to a six-year deal and are reportedly looking to move Vanecek. The Capitals should be all in to bring their guy home. Vanecek can once again be the answer.

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Last season, Henrik Lundqvist was brought into the fold to add depth and experience to the goaltending position behind Samsonov. That didn’t pan out for reasons outside of anybody’s control, but a season removed, the Capitals once again need to bring in a steady, talented goaltender with a low-cap hit. That combination is hard to come by. But why not Vanecek?

Sure, Vanecek doesn’t have nearly the experience that a goaltender like Lundqvist had last season when he was brought in to fill the same void, but Vanecek showed last season that he was up to the task. He has the mental toughness and the skillset to succeed in the NHL. Vanecek was beloved by his teammates in DC and is very close to Samsonov in particular. To top it off, arguably most importantly for a team like the Capitals with only $4,135,407 in projected cap space who have plenty of holes to fill, Vanacek is affordable. The young netminder carries a cap hit of only $716,667 this season, which would allow the team the flexibility to continue to improve their roster and make necessary signings like re-upping Ilya Samsonov.

More. Washington Capitals: With Vitek Vanecek Gone (for now), Ilya Samsonov Needs to Mimic the Maturity. light

Brian Maclellan and the team’s front-office moved Brenden Dillon earlier in the week for two second-round draft picks to the Winnipeg Jets to give the Capitals some much-needed financial flexibility. With that flexibility and their newfound draft capital, Maclellan should get on the phone with Ron Francis in Seattle and create a deal centered around one of those draft picks to bring Vanecek back to the nation’s capital and solidify the team’s goaltending situation.