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MacLellan Talks Capitals Goalie Situation: Move Needs To ‘Make Sense’



Capitals goalies Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan acknowledged the team’s inconsistencies between the pipes as he discussed next moves with the trade deadline looming.

Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have been the team’s go-to tandem between the pipes this season. However, Samsonov has been unable to string together strong starts or get into a rhythm. Meanwhile, Vanecek has seen a number of injuries that have kept him from staying on a roll.

“We have two inexperienced goalies. Both have shown glimpses of what they can do,” MacLellan explained. “Unfortunately, I think we have Vanecek in a really good spot and on a roll and then he got hurt and he’s missed too much time and played well the other night too. So I guess we have to see where he’s at right here now.”

In the “big picture,” MacLellan said that he has seen average goaltending for the most part from both young netminders. Still, there are flaws and areas that need cleaning up, especially as the team looks to recapture its winning ways after a lackluster start to the new year.

“I mean the concerning thing for me is sometimes the goals, the timing of the goals, game-situation goals that some veteran guys would tighten it up and make that save,” MacLellan said. “It’s not the overall save percentage, it’s when and how the goals happen. That’s another thing that can zap momentum from your team and you’re digging a hole and you got to dig out of it. You know, we’re balancing. We’re gonna make calls and we’re gonna see if something makes sense. But overall we got two pretty good goalies that are still finding their way in the league.”

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When it comes to making a deal for a netminder, MacLellan said that the Capitals have made calls around the league to see which goaltenders are on the market. However, he wants to make the right move for the team. 

“[It’s] a difficult situation, I think it’s got to be an obvious upgrade for us for it to make sense, or otherwise we go with our guys,” MacLellan said. “Is this going to get us over a hump on the goaltending side? I don’t know if there’s that many guys that are out that are quality, you know, there might be one or two.”