Capitals players say they will ‘miss Sammy and Vitek’ as the two young goaltenders move on with other teams
The National Hockey League can be a harsh business. Playing a kid’s game as an adult can net a king’s ransom, but it also means being treated like a commodity and having to leave your friendships at the door.
Capitals players are experiencing the latter as they transition into a new year. Over the offseason, general manager Brian MacLellan hit the eject button and jettisoned the young goalie battery of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek after two full seasons together. Samsonov signed with the Leafs after not being tendered a qualifying offer by Mac while Vanecek was dealt to division rival New Jersey. Both players grew up in the Capitals’ developmental system and were a duo with the AHL’s Hershey Bears as well.
The Capitals retooled their netminding by signing the top free agent goaltender on the free-agent market, 2022 Stanley Cup champion Darcy Kuemper, and inking backup Charlie Lindgren to a three-year deal. While there’s excitement on what those two tendies can bring, several Caps players were noticeably tore up about Sammy and Vitek being gone at the start of Training Camp.