It will be a revenge game for goaltender Vitek Vanecek when the Washington Capitals take on the Seattle Kraken in their first-ever meeting on Sunday.
Vanecek was a member of the NHL’s 32nd franchise for about a week. Seattle selected the Czech netminder with their Washington pick int eh expansion draft in July, ultimately adding him, Chris Driedger and Joey Daccord to make up their goaltending tandem. However, when former Capital Philipp Grubauer hit the market, Seattle signed the 2021 Vezina finalist, leaving Vanecek’s future with the franchise in flux.
Four teams were reportedly calling about Vanecek, who had a sense he would be traded. While at home in the Czech Republic, he was woken up at 2 a.m. with that exact news just seven days after his selection, he was headed back to D.C. in exchange for a 2023 second-round selection.
Vanecek said the ordeal was a “crazy” situation, and he was ultimately happy with how it played out.
“i was thinking about it, you’ve been here for a long time, six years and working hard… I was thinking like it’s something new, new people, you know, and a new start,” Vanecek said.
“Was quick comeback. I’m so happy I can be back with the people I know,” Vanecek added. “The organization’s great.”
READ MORE ON WHN: Vanecek Reflects On Seattle Tenure, Journey Back To Capitals
Vanecek never received a jersey or any swag from the Kraken. The closest he got to Seattle was nearly sending his car to Washington State, but he never headed to the Pacific Northwest after the move. He also had to get his mask artist, David Gunnarsson (DaveArt) to stop work on a Kraken-themed mask.
The situation also seemed to work in Vanecek’s favor. The 25-year-old is off to a good start with solid numbers, boasting a 4-2-4 record with a .911 and 2.39 GAA.
Grubauer will also face his former club, who he won the Stanley Cup with in 2018, and start for the Kraken Sunday, per NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. He is not off to his best start by any means with Seattle; he is 4-8-1 with a .875 SV% and 3.27 GAA through 14 games.
The situation appears Seattle is last in the Pacific with a 4-9-1 record ( nine points). Washington is 11-2-5 (27 points) and sits second in the Metropolitan Division behind Carolina.