I don’t think you can sit here and definitively say that goaltending is a weakness for the Washington Capitals. It’s not a weakness, it’s more of an unproven. We could easily come back here in eight to nine months and talk about how great the young tandem of Samsonov and Vanecek played, and that they carried this team.
However, up to this point, they haven’t. Until they prove that they can be relied upon it has to be a question.
Samsonov is no doubt the biggest question in net, mostly because most assume he is the Capitals future at this position. He has shown he has the talent to be a number one in this league. He hasn’t exactly proven to be reliable though.
In the 2020 bubble, he was unavailable due to an ATV incident he sustained while the league was paused. He then followed that up by going on the COVID list twice during the 2021 season. The best ability is availability. You can’t say Samsonov has had that early on in his career.
Vanecek is the backup on this team, however if Samsonov is not available can he get the job done? He had a heck of a season in his debut year going 21-10-4 in 37 games played. He posted a 2.69 GAA and a .908 save percentage. Good numbers, not great, but Vanecek definitely had a great season considering he was thrown into the deep end.
If Samsonov continues to be unreliable is Vancek good enough to take this team to the Stanley Cup? Can Samsonov be a reliable NHL starter?
The Capitals have two young, promising and already good NHL goalies. But neither have proved they can be “the guy” on a contending NHL team. Until they do it has to be a question going into the season.