Brian MacLellan says trading Vitek Vanecek is the “first step in the process of making a change”.

CEO of the Washington Capitals Brian MacLellan spoke from the floor of Bell Center after the end of the 2022 NHL draft.

The biggest news from the Capitals’ two days north of the border was that they traded Vitek Vanecek to division rivals New Jersey for two draft picks. According to Mac, the Capitals had two goals with the trade: 1) get assets for a good young player so he could move up from their fickle young goalie duo, and 2) get promoted in the second round of the draft.

With the 37th overall pick they’ve acquired commercially, the Capitals selected defenseman Ryan Chesley from the US National Team Development Program.

“Yes, we targeted him,” MacLellan said. “We thought we would have to push forward to get him because he wouldn’t be there. We built that into the Vanecek trade.”

There’s still a lot of unknowns about what’s next in goal. MacLellan told reporters that the Capitals will participate in any discussion with a goalie over the next week and the team could be very active on day one of free agency working to address the matter. MacLellan seemed unconcerned with how much it would cost to sign the right man and admitted there was a premium to pay in this goalkeeping market.

MacLellan also told reporters that the team did not prioritize trading Vanecek over Ilya Samsonov. It just turned out that way.

Goalkeepers of the Capitals could Interested over the next week will be Darcy Kuemper (upcoming UFA), Jack Campbell (upcoming UFA) and Jake Allen (Handels), among others. Other goalkeepers that could potentially become available through the trade route are Cam Talbot and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Here were MacLellan’s full comments on the goalkeeper:

Talk to us about the Vanecek trade:

Brian MacLellan: We tried to change our goalkeepers a bit. This is the first step towards it. We still have work to do to complete our goalkeeper duo and we still have a few more decisions to make to move forward here.

For the goalie market, are you looking at the free agent market or trades?

Brian MacLellan: All of them.

Are you looking for someone who can come in and rise above Samsonov, or is it more like what you had but different?

Brian MacLellan: We are open to all ways. I think the goalkeeper market is changing as we come here, day by day. You try to stay in things you’re attracted to, and it might be a good fit. We have free agency on Wednesday. We will be involved in all discussions about goalkeepers.

Hourly changing

Brian MacLellan: Yes. Right.

Did you feel like you had to move today because the dominoes keep falling?

Brian MacLellan: No, we have said from the beginning that we need to make a change there and we have taken the first step in that process to make a change.

Did you expect the goalkeeper market to be what it is now?

Brian MacLellan: Yes. If you line it up and look and see what the teams are thinking, it’s a little messy and muddled. You have to constantly monitor it and see what happens.

Would you have to clear the cap spot to add a significant keeper?

Brian MacLellan: We can add one right away! [laughs]

There are many teams trying to get goalies in the goalie market. You got into it.

Brian MacLellan: I jumped into the fire [laughs] Probably not the smartest. [joking]

But that seemed to have been the plan all along.

Brian MacLellan: Yes. We want to go in there and we’ll see how it goes.

Is the price of goalies high given the demand?

Brian MacLellan: I think given the environment I think the price will be high yes.

Already thinking about acquiring UFA rights before Wednesday?

Brian MacLellan: We’ve thought about it, but we think that’s the way it is now. You know to just go ahead and wait for Wednesday and see what can happen.

There is no longer an (early) window to talk to free agents. Everyone has Wednesday off.

What about Ilya Samsonov?

Brian MacLellan: He is an RFA. We haven’t spoken to his representatives yet. But we’ll be here about the next little while.

Why did you prioritize him over Vanecek?

Brian MacLellan: Not me. We tried to move one of them and we ended up moving Vanecek. It just worked. Supply and demand.

Screenshot: capital letters

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: