SEATTLE, Wa. (WDVM) – The Seattle Kraken, the newest team in the National Hockey League, announced it’s 30-man roster Wednesday night and on it was Washington Capitals’ goalie, Vitek Vanecek.
Vanecek was drafted by the Capitals in the second round (39th overall) in the 2014 NHL draft.
In a season that he was likely to spend with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, Vanecek found himself in the starting role for the Caps after Henrik Lundqvist underwent open-heart surgery, and Ilya Samsonov contracted COVID. In 37 games for Washington, Vanecek went 21-10-4, ending the season with a .908 save percentage and a 2.69 GAA (goals against average.)
Vanecek, 25, from the Czech Republic, thanked Capitals fans on his Instagram account.
For those not privy to how the expansion draft works, the 31 current NHL teams (with the exemption of the Vegas Golden Knights) could protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or protect eight skaters (forwards and defensemen) and one goalie – meaning that those protected players could not be selected by the Seattle Kraken to join their newly formed team.
The Washington Capitals now look ahead to the NHL draft which begins on Friday, July 23rd. Washington doesn’t have any first round picks this year and will make their first selection in round two with pick 55 – that is of course unless they make deal to trade up for a first rounder. As things are now, the Capitals will pick again in round three at pick 75, round four at pick 119, round five at pick 151, and in round six at pick 183.
The Capitals are also expected to get a deal done this offseason with star forward, Alex Ovechkin, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Ovechkin, 35, has expressed that he wants to get a deal done and finish his career in Washington. He was left exposed in the NHL expansion draft, a strategic move by the Caps to allow them to protect some younger, less expensive contracts.
Ovechkin’s last deal with the Capitals came back in 2008 – a 13 year deal worth $124 million.