Former Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek is getting a big payday from the New Jersey Devils.
Vanecek, a restricted free agent, inked a three-year deal with the Devils worth $3.4 million per season. The 26-year-old was coming off a three-year deal with Washington where he made $717k a year.
Vanecek posted a 20-12-6 record, posting a 2.67 GAA, .908 save percentage, and four shutouts last season.
We have signed goalie Vitek Vanecek to a three-year contract.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 19, 2022
Vanecek will make $3.55 million in 2022-23, $3.75 million in 2023-24, and $2.90 million in 2024-25. The deal, in total, is worth $10.2 million.
The Capitals traded Vanecek for draft picks on the second day of the NHL Draft. They swapped second-rounders with New Jersey, which allowed them to pick American defenseman Ryan Chesley who they highly regarded. In the third round, the Capitals seclected Russian-born Alexander Suzdalev — a forward with a lot of skill. Vanecek’s wedding was the very next day.
Vanecek will enter the season sharing goaltending duties with MacKenzie Blackwood, who is going into the final year of his deal. Vanecek will notably make $600k more than Blackwood with this contract. The Devils also have Jonathan Bernier on the roster on long-term injured reserve. The veteran netminder is trying to return from hip surgery that ended his 2021-22 season early.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 8, 2022
Vanecek, the Capitals’ starting netminder in the postseason the last two years, was jettisoned out of DC after general manager Brian MacLellan decided to start over in goal. The Capitals did not tender a qualifying offer to its other goalie, Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on the first day of free agency.
Vanecek Signs Three-Year Contract | RELEASE
The restricted free agent goaltender was acquired in a trade with Washington on July 8
The New Jersey Devils today agreed to terms with restricted free-agent goaltender Vitek Vanecek on a three-year contract with an average annual value of $3,400,000. The breakdown is as follows: 2022-23, $3,550,000; 2023-24, $3,750,000 and 2024-25, $2,900,000. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald.
Vanecek, 26, was acquired by New Jersey on July 8, along with Washington’s No. 46-overall selection (Seamus Casey) in the 2022 NHL Draft from the Capitals in exchange for New Jersey picks No. 37 (Ryan Chesley) and No. 70 (Alexander Suzdalev) in the 2022 Draft.
He completed his second NHL season with Washington, notching his second straight 20-win season. Last year, he posted a 20-12-6 record in 42 games with four shutouts, a 2.67 goals-against average, and .908 save percentage. His shutouts, GAA, and save percentage all led the Caps while his shutout total ranked sixth (tie) in the League. In 2020-21, Vanecek played in 37 games, going 21-10-4 with a 2.69 GAA, .908 save percentage and notched two shutouts. Those numbers led Washington netminders, his win total ranked seventh in the NHL and his time on ice was tenth in the League. He has also played in three career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Drafted in the second round, 39th overall by the Capitals in the 2014 NHL Draft, Vanecek played six American Hockey League seasons with Hershey before becoming a full-time pro. He posted a record of 71-44-22 in 142 regular season games with a 2.59 GAA, .906 save% and 11 shutouts. He had a 2.47 GAA and .925 save percentage in eight games (2-5) over two Calder Cup seasons. Vanecek was named to the AHL All-Star Game in 2019.
Born on Jan. 9, 1996, the Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic native played in the Havlickuv Brod, Bili Tygri Liberec, and Benatky nad Jizerou programs in Czechia. He has represented his home country at the 2014 U18 World Junior Championship (Silver Medal) and the 2015 & 2016 U20 World Junior Championships.
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