Vitek Vanecek’s breakout rookie season earned him votes in end-of-the-year voting for the Calder Trophy. Vanecek placed sixth, receiving three third-place votes, eight fourth-place votes, and 10 fifth-place votes for 49 total points. Vanecek finished third among rookie goaltenders, placing behind the Hurricanes’ Alex Nedeljkovic (third) and the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin (fifth).
The Capitals goaltender finished the season seventh overall in the NHL in wins and compiled a 21-10-4 record, a 2.69 goals against average, and a .908 save percentage. Vanecek got a bulk of the starts (36 of 56) after the presumptive starter Ilya Samsonov contracted coronavirus early in the season and backup Henrik Lundqvist had open-heart surgery in January due to a heart condition.
Vanecek was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month in January and opened the postseason as the team’s starter before getting hurt in Game One of the Capitals’ first round matchup against the Boston Bruins. Vanecek took advantage of the opportunity after spending the previous five seasons with the AHL Hershey Bears and ECHL South Caroline Stingrays,