Caps Prospect Vitek Vanecek Named ECHL Goaltender of the Week

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Posted November 17, 2015

(South Carolina Stingrays)

The Caps have another goalie killing it in the ECHL, this time Vitek Vanecek. The Czech Republic native was a 2nd (39th overall) selection in the 2014 entry draft.

via the Stingrays:

Vanecek appeared in both of South Carolina’s games versus Orlando last weekend, posting a 1-0-1 record with a 0.92 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage. He stopped 21 shots, and denied all three Orlando shootout attempts, in a 2-1 victory on Friday night. He followed up the strong performance with 22 saves versus Orlando on Saturday in a 2-1 shootout loss.

The rookie goaltender is 4-4-2 on season for South Carolina and has allowed two or less goals in each of his last eight appearances. He ranks ninth in the league, and third among rookies, with a 1.99 goals-against average. The goaltender also recorded his first professional shutout in a 2-0 win over Florida on November 3.

This always begs the question: If a team has a good goaltender in the ECHL, at what point do you bring him up a level to the AHL? Dan Ellis and Justin Peters are splitting time in Hershey, so basically, Vanecek is playing down a level in place of veteran goaltenders. But that’s necessary, as one of them is the third option if Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer get injured.

Vanecek is only 19 years old, so either way, it could be several years before he makes an NHL appearance. Plus, let’s not forget Ilya Samsonov, who is projected to be even better. Like those years with Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, Holtby and Grubauer in the pipeline, these are good issues to have.