The Caps have a brand new goaltender - and he’s an old friend. After snatching up another former Caps’ netminder in Philipp Grubauer on the free agent market earlier today, the Seattle Kraken suddenly had an excess of goaltenders, so were kind enough to return Vanecek to the Caps. Going the other way is one of the two second-round picks (the 2023 selection) the Caps acquired in the Brenden Dillon trade earlier this week.
Here’s hoping Vanecek didn’t start packing his bags just yet... welcome back, Vitek!
More from the team on their brand-new acquisition:
ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals have acquired goaltender Vitek Vanecek from the Seattle Kraken for a second round draft pick (originally acquired from the Winnipeg Jets) in the 2023 NHL Draft, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
The Kraken selected Vanecek from the Capitals in the NHL Expansion Draft on July 21.
Vanecek, 25, made his NHL debut last season with the Capitals on Jan. 15 against the Buffalo Sabres. The 6’2”, 187-pound goaltender finished his rookie season with a 21-10-4 record, two shutouts, a 2.69 goals against average and a .908 save percentage, leading all rookie goaltenders in wins. The Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, native became the second goaltender in franchise history to record 21 wins in his rookie season (Michal Neuvirth: 27 wins in 2010-11). Vanecek was named Rookie of the Month in January, becoming the fourth goaltender in franchise history to receive the honor (Neuvirth, Jim Carey and Bob Mason).
Through his first seven games of his NHL career with the Capitals, Vanecek was 5-0-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He became one of two rookie goaltenders in franchise history to remain unbeaten in regulation in his first seven career games, joining Carey (6-0-0-1 in 1994-95), one of nine goaltenders to accomplish this feat since 1967-68 and one of seven among this list to accomplish this feat within one season. Through those seven games, Vanecek’s .941 save percentage at even strength ranked second among goaltenders with at least six games played, only trailing Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (.944 save percentage). Additionally, Vanecek became the fifth rookie goaltender in franchise history to record two shutouts in one season and the first since both Neuvirth and Braden Holtby did so in 2010-11. Vanecek also became the sixth Czech-born goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout.
In the 2019-20 season as a member of the Hershey Bears, Vanecek was named to the AHL All-Star Classic for the second consecutive season, where he received Most Valuable Player honors after allowing two goals over four games in the round-robin tournament with the Atlantic Division. He finished the season with a 19-10-1 record with two shutouts, a 2.26 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
The Capitals selected Vanecek with their second-round pick, 39th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft.