The Seattle Kraken submitted their Expansion Draft list at 10 AM and all the names are slowly leaking out.
NHL insider Frank Seravalli is reporting that the Capitals will lose goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the Kraken. Vanecek will join Chris Driedger (Florida UFA) and Joey Daccord (Ottawa) in net. Seattle ultimately passed on picking superstar Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021
Other notable players available from the Capitals in the Expansion Draft included Nick Jensen, Brenden Dillon, and Conor Sheary.
After being pushed into the number one role after five years in the minors, Vanecek went 21-10-4 for the Capitals during the 2020-21 season, starting 36 of a possible 56 games. Vanecek won Rookie of the Month in January and finished the season with a 2.69 GAA, .908 save percentage, and two shutouts. The Czech netminder, 25, is going into the final year of his entry-level contract where he makes $716k a season.
Vanecek’s opportunity came after penciled-in backup Henrik Lundqvist had open-heart surgery in January and Ilya Samsonov contracted coronavirus after his second start of the season. Samsonov got suspended by the team later in the year and landed on the COVID-19 Unavailability List before the playoffs.
With Vanecek gone, the Capitals will turn again to Samsonov (RFA) in net next season as the team’s starter. The team also has goaltenders Pheonix Copley (Braden Holtby’s backup in 2018-19) and Zach Fucale under contract for next season.
Seattle’s selection of Vanecek, who was one of the Capitals’ best values on the roster, may also force Brian MacLellan to make a move to open cap space. The team still has Alex Ovechkin and Samsonov to re-sign with only $9.018 million available. The Caps can go as much as 10 percent over the cap during the offseason ($7.25 million), but must be fully cap compliant when opening night rosters are submitted.
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