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Capitals Trade Vanecek, No. 46 Pick To Devils For Second, Third-Rounders

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Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek

The Washington Capitals have chosen between their two RFAs netminders and have traded Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils.

Washington has also traded its No. 46 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, along with Vanecek, to New Jersey for the No. 37 pick and No. 70 picks in the 2022 NHL Draft.

With this deal, the Capitals now have one lone netminder on the roster in Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov is an RFA, and per GM Brian MacLellan, will receive a qualifying offer. Vanecek is also an RFA and will re-sign with the Devils.

Given the move, Washington is now in pursuit of a No. 1 netminder, and the free agent market is thinning. Marc-Andre Fleury got a two-year extension in Minnesota, and Ville Husso signed with the Detroit Red Wings following a trade from the St. Louis Blues early on Friday. Darcy Kuemper and Jack Campbell are the top names left on the market.

READ MORE ON WHN: Kuemper To Hit Free Agency, Is Next Stop Capitals?

Vanecek had decent numbers, posting a .908 save percentage through 39 starts this season. He split the year down the middle with Samsonov and finished with the better body of work, but neither he or Samsonov could steal the starting spot or find consistency. Vanecek was named the starter for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but he had a tough outing in Game 2. Head coach Peter Laviolette pulled him, and Samsonov took over for the remainder of the first round.

This is the second offseason that the Capitals have departed with the Czech netminder. Vanecek had gone to the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft, but weeks later was re-acquired by D.C.

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