Vitek Vanecek Playing Well Beyond His Salary

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Posted October 24, 2021

(Caps Outsider)

A year ago, he was a third string goaltender. Then a backup. Then a playoff starter. Now, Vitek Vanecek is one of the Caps’ most valuable players in the early part of the season. And he’s doing it with the lowest salary on the active roster, at $716,667 a year.

Every goaltender has a hiccup during a string of outstanding performances. Vanecek had his yesterday against the Flames, but there’s no need for concern.

“It’s not like you can fault him on any of the goals,” said head coach Peter Laviolette, as the goals Vanecek allowed were on a deflected rebound, a breakaway, and a shot with two bodies screening him.

Before the Flames’ game, the 25-year-old Czech goalie was 2-0-1 with that loss in overtime coming against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning. More impressively, he had posted a 1.30 GAA, .946 save percentage, and saved 6.4 more goals than expected before last night. All those numbers, top 10 in the league.

The Caps goalie coach, Scott Murray, praised the second year netminder’s start to the season earlier this week, saying “His game on the ice is consistent, and he’s a consistent human being… What you see is what you get so far with Vitek, and it’s been nice.”

Star defensemen John Carlson admitted that the team is giving up quality chances, but Vanecek has “stood tall and played great” ever since opening night against the Rangers.

To start the season, it wasn’t known whether Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov would get the starting job. To this point, Vanecek has shown he clearly deserves the nod on an almost nightly basis.

Even though Vanecek is making the least amount of money of any player on the active roster, he just might be the most valuable player on the ice each night.