According to CapGeek and Renaud Lavoie, the Caps have signed second-round pick Vitek Vanecek to a three-year entry-level contract. Vanecek will carry a $775,833 cap hit.

It is unknown where the goalie will play. Vanecek is still listed on the 2014-15 roster of HC Benatky nad Jizerou, a club in the Czech Republic’s second-tier league, where he was loaned last year. He played just one game for that team, spending most of the year with the junior squad of HC Bily Tigry Liberec.

Signing an ELC could present a new opportunity for Vanecek. As goaltending tandems in Washington and Hershey look set, Vanecek could compete for playing time with two other prospects, Brandon Anderson and Pheonix Copley, in South Carolina of the ECHL, or the Caps could elect to loan one of them to another minor pro club.

The CHL route is closed for Vanecek following a recent ban on import goalies. He can’t play college hockey either having signed a pro contract.

July 15 Update: The Capitals have confirmed that Vanacek has signed his three-year entry level deal, which was first reported by Renaud Lavoie. Vanecek will play in the Czech Republic next season.

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  • Luke Anthony

    Not that it’s a bad thing to have him come over to NA, but why the hell do we have 7 goalies signed? We will probably have to loan one somewhere or trade Anderson. Can’t imagine Caps would sign him if he was going back to Europe.

  • Searle

    Like this. Gives him a year or two to acclimatise to North American hockey, then when Grubauer moves up to the NHL he can compete for the AHL starting role, good to have more quality goalies in the pipeline.

  • Mark Mille

    Low odds Copley will be able to make the jump to the NHL from AHL, dubious he even makes it that far. I believe Anderson is projected to be at most an NHL backup or AHL starter, From what I can tell the only goaltenders with real potential are Vitek and Grubs. Having all these goaltenders allow for injury depth which is extremely important you can easily lose a goalie or two for months due to groin injuries. Similarly as these goaltenders develop closer to their projections they become trading assets. Move them to other teams lacking minor league goalies(read as injury depth) for 5 rounders and on.

  • Luke Anthony

    I agree about Copley and Anderson not having real NHL potential, but having 3 young goalies competing over time isn’t good. Potential is irrelevant in this case, all will get good # of games. I mean we just saw at the NHL level this season and it’s a waste of a contract spot. You can split two young guys, but not three.

  • Mark Mille

    I dont see it as that big of an issue especially since we can loan minor league goalies at will. Having them compete is good and what we should be doing, we want them to develop to the best of their abilities, goalies generally take a while to “mature” to the level of competition, outside of injury I dont want or expect to see Anderson and down for at least 3 years.

    Generally prospects take 2-4 years at least to become relevant. You can have as many players signed as long as Ted is okay with it, its his money they are spending. Drafting Vitek showed that the organization and Mitch Korn didn’t trust the depth we have in goaltending, signing Vitek so quickly means they believe he can make an impact in the AHL and above in 3 years.

    There is nothing wrong with having 3 goaltenders signed at any level, thats no problem, the problem is how many you dress for a game which MUST be 2

  • Luke Anthony

    I was referring to the 50 contract limit NHL teams have. We’re already at 47 and still don’t have Schilling, Walker and Vrana under contract yet.

  • Mark Mille

    We cant put Vrana under contract, he’s obligated in Sweden.

  • Luke Anthony

    We can sign him and loan him, it’s what we’re doing with Djoos.

  • Mark Mille

    But you can also delay signing him, if we dont sign him for a few years he becomes a UFA

  • Luke Anthony

    True, but it’s more or less a standard to sign first round picks right away, especially higher ones. Doesn’t mean somebody can’t be moved. Mainly don’t want to see Vanecek lose games to get other two in more.

  • Fedor

    Vanecek probably won’t count to the limit as a sliding contract (under 20 years of age, not playing 10 games in the NHL).

  • RESmith

    What about the USHL route if CHL and college are out? Not sure if that would make sense other than get him exposure to North American rinks and style of play.

  • Mark Mille

    the level of competition is too weak in my opinion, he’d be better off playing in the ECHL

  • Mark Mille

    Hitting the contract limit is generally a non-issue

  • RESmith

    I agree. It doesn’t make sense to have him come over to play against junior aged players when he can be competing against men back home, (even if it is not on the elite level.) I was just asking if it was an option and what the Caps might be thinking…

    But I also share what Luke Anthony is concerned about wiith having three goalie competing for time in the ECHL. Granted he was an older draft pick in the seventh round, but it reminds me of what happened with Sergei Kostenko. The Caps were high on him after his first development camp and signed him to play in Reading but he only ended up playing nine games that year and then he returned to Russia. One of the others would have to be traded or loaned because presumably with a prospect drafted out of the second round you would want him with your primary affiliate in the E and could have more influence on his playing time than if you loaned him to another team at that level.

  • Mark Mille

    I wouldn’t say they were “high” on him but he showed some ability, we drafted him in the 7th round because we were completely unsure of his commitment to play in North America, drafting him mostly mostly to pay for his surgery because his club in Russia refused let him get it, he also couldn’t afford it.

    If you really think the Kostenko situation calls for worry, I guess I know what you are saying its just, you can always just give him to another ECHL team or back to another pro men’s league club. We didn’t do that with Kostenko because we give him his surgery and wanted to moniter his recover/test committment,

    But this whole discussion is based on “appears he’s echl bound” we still have no idea and its just not that big of a deal with these sliding contracts

  • RESmith

    I don’t think the Kostenko situation calls for worry. I was just using
    it as an illustration of having a goalie go to the minors only to get a
    handful of games and may not be the best for his development. But you
    are right, this is all on the speculation he is headed to the ECHL. We don’t know what the Caps plan.

  • Austin

    Just to clarify the USHL is the tier 1 best junior league in the United States. Most of the best American hockey players had played in it at some point in time, such as Parise Suter Patrick Kane all had some United States Hockey League experience I believe ( our John Carlson played in it before moving to London in the OHL) . Even if it’s not CHL caliber it’s not THAT far off from it. If hockey was as big in the USA compared to Canada the USHL would be the junior equivalent of the CHL. Unlike the CHL the USHL players tend to play junior then go off to play hockey on the collegiate level because college hockey is usually where the best American hockey players gravitate too unlike in Canada where they all go to the CHL. So I guess it’s really CHL vs USHL+NCAA but different countries have different methods. Just wanted to provide a little info.

  • Aaron

    Anderson is done with the Caps I think. He’s been around for enough years now that if they were ever going to get him to Hershey, they would be doing so next season, since Leggio has moved on. Instead they’ve brought in Pasquale to back up Grubauer in Hershey. I can’t see Anderson getting another chance – if he hasn’t made the jump by now it’s time for him to find another organisation.

    I reckon his contract will expire, the Caps won’t qualify him, and he’ll sign with an AHL club, probably as their #3.