Capitals trade Vitek Vanecek to the Devils

Vitek Vanecek, Nick Jensen, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Vitek Vanecek, Nick Jensen, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals have finally made their decision between Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. They chose Samsonov and shipped Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils, along with their 46th pick in exchange for the Devils’ 37th and 70th overall pick.

Here are the Caps upcoming picks as of this writing: Round 2 37th overall, Round 3 70th overall, Round 3 85th overall, Round 5 149th overall, Round 6 181st overall, and Round 7 213th overall.

The Caps used that 37th pick to select US NTDP defenseman Ryan Chesley.

Vanecek, 26, posted a 41-22-10 record with a 2.68 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 79 career games with the Caps. He was drafted with the Caps second round pick at 39th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Vanecek had a really good first season with the Caps. He was thrust into a starters role with Henrik Lundqvist dealing with a heart condition that ultimately ended his career and Ilya Samsonov was struggling with COVID issues and more.

That first season saw him go 21-10-4 with a .908 save percentage and a 2.69 goals against average. This past season he once again had a .908 save percentage while going 20-12-6 with a 2.67 goals against average. He also had four shutouts. In the playoffs for the second year in a row he once again failed to establish himself.

Last year it was a freak injury. This year it was a bad outing in Game 2 against the Florida Panthers after a 30 save effort in a Game 1 win. Game 2’s nightmare saw Vanecek give up five goals on 19 shots and Samsonov came in for the rest of the way and never looked back.

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Now that the Caps made their decision between the two young goalies, now it’s time to go shopping for a true veteran who can man the crease on opening night Oct. 12 against the Boston Bruins. There are plenty of names on the market. The question is who they’ll pick.