According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL and players’ association agreed that teams will be required to carry up to three goaltenders on their roster this season. He also added that teams will be allowed to start training camp with 36 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies.
This is big news for the Washington Capitals. After goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced last week that he will be unable to participate in the 2020-21 season due to a heart condition, the team faces questions in goal. With only $2,975,123 left in cap space and a need for a middle-six right-wing, the Capitals could opt to rotate between Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek to start the season.
Copley went 16-7-3 with a .905 save percentage, a 2.90 goals-against average, and one shutout with the Capitals in 2018-19, but he is going to turn 29 on January 18 and has never established himself as a full-time NHL goalie as he has only played 29 career NHL games. He went 17-8-9 with a .905 save percentage, a 2.47 goals-against average, and two shutouts with the AHL’s Hershey Bears last season.
Vanecek went 19-10-2 with a .917 save percentage, a 2.26 goals-against average, and two shutouts with the Bears last season but has never started an NHL game.
The NHL regular-season will reportedly be 56-games long and starter Ilya Samsonov has never played more than 28 games in a season before 2018-19 with the Bears, when he started 37 and struggled to adjust to the North American game. He went 20-14-3 with an .898 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average that season, but finished strong after his first 20 starts.
So, to recap:
Puck drop: Jan. 13
Trade deadline: April 12
End of reg season: May 8
Expansion draft: July 21
NHL draft: July 23-24
Free-agent Frenzy: July 28
July 29: LeBrun goes to cottage https://t.co/um2EkAIOc6
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 20, 2020
Training camps are set to open on Sunday, January 3 for the Capitals and the other 23 teams that participated in the NHL’s return-to-play format last summer and Wednesday, December 30 for the seven that did not. The regular season will reportedly start on Wednesday, January 13.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) December 20, 2020
By Harrison Brown