The Seattle Kraken have agreed to trade goaltender Vitek Vanecek back to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round draft pick in the 2023 NHL draft. Vanecek was selected from the Capitals in the Kraken expansion draft.
Kraken Trade Vitek Vanecek to Capitals
In his single year in the NHL, Vanecek has played only for the Washington Capitals. He has a 21-10-4 career record in 37 career appearances. During the regular season, Vanecek played in games with 36 starts for the Capitals. He put up a 2.69 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage, and two shutouts. Vanecek started in the Capitals’ first game against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but suffered an injury just 13 minutes in.
Vanecek was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the second round, 39th overall in the 2014 NHL draft.
What This Means for the Future
Just a week after being selected in the 2021 expansion draft, Vanecek is headed back to Washington. It seems that today’s signing of free-agent goaltender Philipp Grubauer prompted the Kraken to return him to the Capitals. With Grubauer (a Vezina finalist from last season) and Chris Driedger, Seattle should have a solid goalie tandem. Perhaps, with their starter and backup set, the Kraken didn’t see as much of a need for Vanecek. Another issue is that if the Kraken wanted to send Vanecek to the minors in the fall, they would have had to put him on waivers.
For Washington, though, Vanecek’s return must be a relief. Losing him in the expansion draft meant that Ilya Samsonov and Craig Anderson were the Capitals’ remaining goaltenders. However, all the signs point toward Anderson retiring sometime this offseason, and as a restricted free agent, Samsonov is still negotiating his contract. With Vanecek back, the Capitals at least have one netminder locked down. It didn’t cost them much (Vanecek counts for just over $700,000 toward the cap). Moreover, the Capitals know from experience that he’ll fit just fine in their tandem. Overall, it’s a trade that makes sense for both sides.
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 15: Vitek Vanecek #41 of the Washington Capitals receives medical attention during the first period against the Boston Bruins during Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs May 15, 2021 at Capital One Arena on May 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)