Capitals players say they will ‘miss Sammy and Vitek’ as the two young goaltenders move on with other teams

The National Hockey League is usually a harsh trade. Playing a child’s sport as an grownup can internet a king’s ransom, but it surely additionally method being handled like a commodity and having to go away your friendships at the door.

Capitals players are experiencing the latter as they transition into a brand new 12 months. Over the offseason, normal supervisor Brian MacLellan hit the eject button and jettisoned the young goalie battery of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek after two complete seasons in combination. Samsonov signed with the Leafs after no longer being tendered a qualifying be offering by means of Mac whilst Vanecek used to be dealt to department rival New Jersey. Both players grew up in the Capitals’ developmental device and have been a duo with the AHL’s Hershey Bears as neatly.

The Capitals retooled their netminding by means of signing the best unfastened agent goaltender on the free-agent marketplace, 2022 Stanley Cup champion Darcy Kuemper, and inking backup Charlie Lindgren to a three-year deal. While there’s pleasure on what the ones two tendies can carry, a number of Caps players have been noticeably tore up about Sammy and Vitek being long past at the get started of Training Camp.

“I’m going to miss Sammy and Vitek,” TJ Oshie admitted. “When you have not just goaltenders but any young guy that comes up through the organization, you see him go through the progression and see him grow, become close friends, it’s tough to see him go. I certainly wish them the best and we miss them here.”

Capitals’ first-line heart, Evgeny Kuznetsov, used to be one among Samsonov’s closest pals on the crew. The two fished and performed video video games in combination. On the ice, they have been ceaselessly observed chatting with every other at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex follow rink. Kuzy, who stayed at house in DC for the summer season, admitted that he spent a just right chew of the offseason with Sammy.

“I haven’t yet say goodbye to him,” Kuznetsov stated. “I was with him a lot this summer. I wish him all the best. As a friend, you always want him to be successful. I hope that everything is going to work out with him and he’s going to play well. Tough environment (in Toronto) to be around. So far it sounds like they have pretty good guys inside the team. They help him and there is not a lot of people that speak Russian over there so his English will be better.”

The Capitals’ 2nd sport of the common season is available in Toronto towards Samsonov’s Maple Leafs. “I’m very excited about that second game. He will (start), trust me,” Kuznetsov stated jokingly.

Samsonov spoke to the Toronto media on Thursday for over 5 mins with out the lend a hand of a translator. The Russian netminder stated that he gained a number of multi-year provides from other teams, however idea signing a one-year prove-it deal with the “best organization in the league” used to be a no brainer.


“I just remember how I play against Leafs,” Samsonov stated. “I go to the bench after first period all three games. Everybody know this is the best team. Best team to score lots of goals.”

Samsonov will shape a tandem with veteran Matt Murray this season who came around from the Ottawa Senators. Murray, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, has struggled with damage and most effective performed in 45 video games the remaining two seasons blended.

“Me and Matt will get some time both,” Samsonov stated. “It’s a really nice opportunity for me. He’s nice guy. We’ll try to push together. We’ll want to win with this team.”

Samsonov admitted that he used to be shocked the Capitals didn’t be offering him a freelance over the summer season, however “I understand it’s just a business.”

A pair hundred miles southeast, Vitek Vanecek took the ice with his new Devils’ teammates at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House. Vanecek will compete with MacKenzie Blackwood for the beginning spot as the Devils attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Vanecek were given married over the offseason and Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary attended the wedding ceremony. The business came about the day ahead of the match.

“It was really really hard,” Vanecek stated of the business’s timing. “I was trying to set up the wedding and then I was doing the things. Probably like 3 pm they called me and I was trying to figure out everything for the wedding and then I was just calling, calling. My wife asked me who was it? I said it was the GM and I was traded and she understand that’s why I didn’t do anything for wedding and she do everything by self.”

Vanecek will be pressured to bear the identical traumatic state of affairs he had in Washington, the place whoever performs the best possible between him and Blackwood, will get a bulk of the begins. “It’s a little bit pressure on us because you have to play every game good,” he stated.

But VV used to be interested by the alternative and having the room to develop into the best possible model of himself.

“I was happy,” Vanecek stated. “I know New Jersey is young team. They have a future, you know? It’s really nice. I hope we will get far and get to the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey. Young team, young legs. We will do everything for it.”

The Capitals didn’t win a playoff collection whilst Samsonov and Vanecek have been on the crew. Samsonov completed with a career-worst .896 save share remaining season and completed 107th in the league in Goals Saved Above Expected (-12.1) in step with Money Puck. Vanecek didn’t fare significantly better, finishing the season with a .908 save share and finishing up in 84th in GSAE (-5.4). The duo didn’t paintings for the Caps.

But that doesn’t imply that the good-bye wasn’t painful. Both goaltenders, right through their time in Washington, tantalized with their skill and confirmed they may well be world-class in the future if they absolutely increase. Samsonov and Vanecek have been additionally just right teammates and loved by means of the other players.

“Every year some new guys come in and changes all that’s happening,” Alex Ovechkin stated. “That’s hockey business. You make a friendship and it’s hard to see your friends and good players go, but we players, it’s not up to us.”

Headline picture: @StevenEllisTHN/@NJDevils

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