The Washington Capitals announced Sunday morning that they have re-assigned goaltenders Vitek Vanecek (conditioning loan) and Pheonix Copley to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). Vanecek has been sidelined since February 1 when he was injured (upper-body) in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bears host the Utica Comets this evening at 5:00 PM at Giant Center. It’s likely Vanecek will get the start, then possibly return to Washington in time to backup Ilya Samsonov Monday night against the Maple Leafs.
Vanecek, 26, has posted a record of 10-6-5, with two shutouts, a 2.39 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage this season. In 24 games, the 6’2″, 184-pound goaltender has a 1.75 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage at five-on-five. The Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, native has the lowest goals-against average and rebounds allowed per 60 minutes of play (1.86) and the fourth highest save percentage in the NHL at five-on-five among goaltenders with at least 15 games played.
In 61 career games with the Capitals, Vanecek is 31-16-9 with four shutouts, a 2.58 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
The Capitals selected Vanecek with their second-round pick, 39th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft. Washington re-acquired Vanecek from the Seattle Kraken for a second-round draft pick (originally acquired from the Winnipeg Jets) in the 2023 NHL Draft on July 28, 2021.
Copley, 30, made 21 saves in his season debut on Feb. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers and has appeared in two games for Washington this season. In 31 career NHL games, the North Pole, Alaska native is 16-9-3 with one shutout, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.
In 22 games with the Bears this season, Copley has posted a record of 13-7-2 with two shutouts, a 2.43 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage, leading the Bears in each respective category.
Will be fun to see VV back in the Chocolate and White. He is much beloved in Chocolate town.
Does that mean Fleury is on a way to D.C.?
I think it just means he’s going to play a conditioning game and then return to Washington.