One of many early surprises of the 2021 season has been the play of goalie Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek seemingly wouldn’t even be taking part in If Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have a coronary heart situation. As an alternative, the rookie netminder is 3-0-2 in 5 begins with a .918 save share and a couple of.70 GAA. With factors in his first 5 video games, he’s solely two video games away from tying Jim Carey’s franchise document for the longest level streak by a rookie to start out his profession.
Vanecek’s play has been nice information for the Capitals contemplating goaltending was a query mark heading into the season. The truth that Ilya Samsonov has missed three video games whereas on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol-related absence listing and the workforce has not missed a beat is an encouraging signal for the depth on the goaltending place.
All of that is excellent news for Washington…besides in a single respect.
The Seattle enlargement draft will happen in the course of the 2021 offseason. Each workforce will probably be allowed to guard one goalie and it was assumed that goalie for the Caps can be Samsonov. However has Vanecek performed his means into the dialogue?
A younger goalie tandem of two reliable goalies is nice. One of the necessary positions in hockey is roofed by two cheap gamers who’re persevering with to develop and may get higher over the subsequent few seasons. Usually, a workforce would simply allow them to play it out for the subsequent few years earlier than both signing one because the No. 1 and probably buying and selling the opposite for worth and even making an attempt to persuade each goalies to remain as a dynamic duo. This, nevertheless, isn’t a standard 12 months and the specter of dropping one of many younger netminders will loom over the season, particularly if each gamers are in a position to play at a excessive degree.
Granted, it’s not assured that Seattle would take both Samsonov or Vanecek. It was assumed by many, that Philipp Grubauer can be taken by Vegas within the 2017 enlargement draft and the Golden Knights as an alternative went with Nate Schmidt. There are additionally issues common supervisor Brian MacLellan can do to coerce Seattle to take a look at one other participant reminiscent of providing a commerce if Seattle agrees to not choose somebody. After seeing how Vegas was in a position to rob groups for draft picks simply to finish up with higher gamers anyway, common managers are going to be reluctant to do this this time round. And simply because MacLellan could supply a commerce doesn’t imply Seattle must take it. If the Kraken have their sights set on whichever netminder the Caps depart uncovered, there’s nothing actually MacLellan can do to cease them from taking him.
The underside line is Washington goes to must enter the offseason a minimum of ready to lose one in all its goalies.
When it was believed Vanecek was, at finest, an NHL backup, that wasn’t a difficulty. However what if he is higher than that?
It is nonetheless very early within the season. Vanecek could regress or Samsonov may elevate his play when he returns to such a degree that it turns into no contest. But when the enlargement draft had been to occur tomorrow, this could not be a straightforward determination.
Vanecek’s play has been an enormous optimistic for Washington to date into the early season, but when he continues at this degree it’ll put the workforce in a tough place within the offseason. Having to decide on between two starting-caliber goalies is an effective drawback to have, however it’s a drawback nonetheless.