The Key Stat: .908. Two seasons for Vitek Vanecek, two seasons with a .908 save percentage. Is that a floor or a ceiling? This is not a 23-year old goalie in the early days of what could be a long career. He will turn 27 years of age in January, almost middle age in a hockey career, and it is time that the “floor/ceiling” issue be settled.
The Good: Vanecek thrived in heavy workload situations. In 14 games in which he faced more than 30 shots, he was 10-3-1, 2.69, .921, with one shutout. And speaking of shutouts, the four that Vanecek posted in 2021-2022 made him only the fourth goalie since 2005-2006 for the Caps to post at least four shutouts in a single season, the others being Braden Holtby (four times), Tomas Vokoun, and Michal Neuvirth.
The Bad: Vanecek did have a six-game winning streak at the start of March, but otherwise, he did not have more than two consecutive wins at any point during the season. It was a bit of a step back, given he had three winning streaks of at least three games in his rookie season last year. It is a reflection of the lack of consistency that has been a dominating feature of both Caps goalies over the last two seasons. There is more urgency to correct this problem with Vanecek, since he is entering what might be considered his prime seasons, age-wise. If that inconsistency persists, he stands little chance – here or elsewhere – to be a number one goalie.
The Video: OK, he lost the game, but as this highlight shows, he doesn’t give up on a play. Not only does he make the save, he snares it in his glove, thus no rebound.
The Discussion: For a soon-to-be 27-year old, Vanecek has a thin NHL resume. Do the Caps have enough information about him at this level to make an informed decision on whether to re-sign him (he is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent)? If the Caps choose to go that route, does he deserve a raise from the $716,667 cap hit he had on his just-expired contract? If so, how much? If the Caps choose to go in a different direction and try to move him in trade, what might be an appropriate return? And the big question, is his performance with the Caps to date a floor or a ceiling in terms of his likely future performance? And finally, what would it take for you to give Vanecek a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate Vitek Vanecek below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Vitek Vanecek’s 2021-22 season?
This poll is closed