The Washington Capitals saw one of their former goaltenders get a big payday in New Jersey, as Vitek Vanecek signed a three-year extension with the Devils on Tuesday.
Vanecek’s new deal carries an AAV of $3.4 million per season. He had filed for arbitration by the Sunday deadline.
Washington chose to move on from both of their young goaltenders in Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov following a couple of years of inconsistency and four straight first-round exits. The Capitals traded Vanecek to New Jersey just minutes before the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft in exchange for draft picks. Samsonov, meanwhile, didn’t receive a qualifying offer and hit free agency. He signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Washington then went for an overhaul in net. The team brought in Darcy Kuemper on a five-year, $26.25 million deal that pays $5.25 million per season. Charlie Lindgren is the new backup and carries an AAV of $1.1 million on a new deal.
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Looking at arbitration and Vanecek’s new contract, the Capitals arguably made the right move, as his services would have potentially come at a much higher price. General manager Brian MacLellan had also used that in his reasoning with regard to why the team didn’t qualify Samsonov.
Vanecek had a decent 2021-22 campaign with Washington, where he went 20-12-6 with a .908 save percentage and 2.67 GAA through 42 games. However, he was pulled just two games into the playoffs after a rough go-of-it and five goals against in Game 2 against the Florida Panthers.
The Czech netminder finished his Capitals tenure with a .908 save percentage over 79 total games with the Capitals. He will form a 1A/1B tandem with MacKenzie Blackwood in 2022-23.