What Vitek Vanecek’s Selection for Seattle Means for the Caps

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Posted July 22, 2021

In yesterday’s expansion draft, the Caps lost goaltender Vitek Vanecek to Seattle. With the pick, Vanecek became one of three netminders selected by the Kraken, including Joey Daccord from the Ottawa Senators and Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers. 

Vanecek was a crucial part of the Caps’ success as he battled Ilya Samsonov for the starting position throughout the season. In his rookie year, Vanecek boasted a .908 save percentage, two shutouts and twenty-one wins, the most among the Caps goaltenders. 

For fans, it was known that Vanecek was at risk when the protected lists came out this past Sunday. The decision to protect Samsonov made it clear who had won the battle this season. Now the Caps will be forced to stick with that decision as Samsonov will be the permanent starter moving forward. Samsonov played in 19 games during the regular season last year in his second NHL season (both with Washington), producing a slightly lower save percentage at .902 and two shutouts.

The loss of Vanecek also means that the Caps would currently have to turn to Craig Anderson when in need of backup help. This leaves the potential for Washington to search for another netminder to support Samsonov rather than the aging Anderson. 

The pick does mean that the Caps will stay almost entirely intact, not losing any offensive or defensive players and therefore no big shakeup. However, the pick does put the Caps in a tough goaltender situation and in need of a better backup.

For the Kraken, Vanecek is a young and promising goaltender who will add great value to Seattle with the experience he gained this past season. As for Washington, the Caps will aim to make the most out of this loss as they look to once again make a competitive playoff run this coming season.