The Capitals lost goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the Kraken in last week’s expansion draft. But on Wednesday night, Washington got the 25-year-old netminder back in a trade with Seattle, sending a 2023 second-round pick back to the NHL’s newest franchise.
The Capitals traded defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday for two second-round selections, and they used one of those picks to reunite with Vanecek. Vanecek made his NHL debut last season for the Capitals, thrown into the fire when goalie Henrik Lundqvist was ruled out due to a heart issue.
He posted a .908 save percentage with a 2.69 goals-against average in 37 appearances for Washington. The trade to send Vanecek back to the Capitals, where he’ll likely reunite with Ilya Samsonov as the goalie tandem, was made possible once the Kraken signed goalie Philipp Grubauer on Wednesday to a six-year, $35.5 million deal.
Last season, Vanecek and Samsonov split time. They’re both young, inexperienced options that Washington is placing their trust in. Samsonov played 19 games with a .902 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against average.
Vanecek carries a cap hit of $716,667, providing the Capitals with maneuverability after re-signing captain Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday to a deal averaging $9.5 million a year. Washington still needs to re-sign Samsonov, who’s a restricted free agent. The team gave him a qualifying offer Monday to retain his rights.