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Sammi’s Daily: Capitals Exploring ‘All Avenues’ After Big Draft, Vanecek Trade

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Capitals goalies Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek

The Washington Capitals had a mission in mind and a big chance to add to their depth chart at the 2022 NHL Draft and left with a couple of big steals, and that’s not just Ivan Miroshnichenko. The team also made a move, shipping Vitek Vanecek and the No. 46 selection to the New Jersey Devils to acquire two more picks.

Now, after loading up on forward prospects and adding a couple of future blueliners, the Capitals are shifting their attention to free agency, which kicks off Wednesday in the midst of the team’s development camp. Washington still faces multiple questions with regard to its future. But now, they definitely need to sign a No. 1 goaltender to work in tandem with Ilya Samsonov, who also requires an extension.

Here are all the latest news and notes from Washington and beyond heading into a busy week.

Capitals Links

  • General manager Brian MacLellan took a “first step” in resolving the Capitals goaltending situation with the Vanecek trade. Here’s more on what GMBM had to say about the team’s plan going forward. (WHN)
  • And, looking at the trade, why did Washington choose to ship out Vanecek over Ilya Samsonov, and what does it say about the Capitals goalies? (WHN)
  • Following the deal, the Darcy Kuemper to D.C. chatter is starting to heat up. (WHN)
  • Moving on from the trade and refocusing on the 2022 NHL Draft, Washington won big — and snagged a couple steals to boot.
  • One of those steals: second-round defenseman Ryan Chesley, who is ready to pack a punch for the Capitals and took time to introduce himself. (WHN)

NHL Links

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Washington got two of the best names in the draft in Miroshnichenko and Chesley, and also picked up some promising up-and-comers in the later rounds, too. The team ended up taking three left wingers, two centers and two defenseman and significantly boosted the depth chart.
  • Miroshnichenko, meanwhile, was cleared to return to skating in June. He is in remission and the current plan is for him to return to Avangard Omsk next season. The Capitals have been impressed with him and also see him starting to put weight back on, and they believe the future is bright for him as he gets back into playing.
  • Lucas Johansen re-signed with Washington for two years on Saturday. The 24-year-old’s first year will be a two-way contract and it will turn into a one-way contract in the second year. Justin Schultz, Michal Kempny and Matt Irwin are all pending UFAs and given the need for a goaltender and maybe more secondary scoring support, I expect Johansen to compete for a spot if those UFA blueliners walk.
  • Speaking of RFAs, MacLellan said that Washington will speak with Samsonov’s camp about an extension. The 25-year-old is currently the only goaltender on the team’s roster. As he discussed the Capitals’ goaltending plan going forward, he said the team would explore “all avenues,” including the trade market and free agency. He also didn’t seem overly concerned with making the deal work when asked if the team has the cap space to take on a substantial goalie contract.
  • Washington kicks off its 2022 Development Camp on Monday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. It will run through July 16 and feature a scrimmage at Capital One Arena on July 15. Here’s everything we know so far.
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