The Washington Capitals have several big decisions to make coming up this offseason, with none more bigger than determining which goaltenders will be on next season’s opening night roster. But before we can begin considering roster adjustments, it’s helpful to review where things stand as of today, with regards to the organizational depth chart.
The following table lists all of the Capitals goaltenders, their assignments this past season, and where they are currently projected to play next season. College commitments are also included. [Click to enlarge].
Obviously the most important task ahead for the Capitals is finalizing a plan for starting goaltenders next season. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are both restricted free agents and will need to be tendered a qualifying offer by July 11th if the Capitals want to retain or trade them.
It’s likely the Capitals will sign or trade for a veteran goaltender this off-season, with either Samsonov or Vanecek beginning the season in the backup position. The other will likely be traded prior to or on draft weekend.
There is a very good chance that the Capitals move on from Pheonix Copley, simply due to age and overcrowding in Hershey. Zach Fucale will likely assume the primary starter’s role to begin the season, with Hunter Shepard the backup. Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund could also factor into the things, and possibly get starts.
Mitchell Gibson and Chase Clark are committed to playing college hockey next season. Gibson, who will be entering his third year of eligibility at Harvard, has stated publicly he is staying at Harvard until he gets his degree (can’t blame him). Clark has yet to make such a statement.
It’s very possible the Capitals will move on from two of the organizations top three netminders this offeseason,but the depth is there to backfill in Washington and Hershey. We will find out a lot more in the coming days and prior to or at the draft on July 7th.
For more information on each of the aforementioned prospects, you can check out our dedicated “Prospects” page in the top menu.
By Jon Sorensen
Thanks for this. Will help us play along at home when changes begin.
We appear to be well-stocked on the deep end, but maybe rather shallow in the middle and near the top.
Always going to be shallow at the top and middle until we cah obtain top 10 picks. Dont find many toplines or topcenters in the lower picks or late r rounds. Yes there can be a fluke but dont rely on that. Maybe the thing to do is let the goalies mature and push hard for Ovie to get his next 115 goals and then start the rebuild. Going to be sad to see Backy and others go but the time has come to realize that this team as it is made up this year and probably the next 2-3 is NOT a Cup team, playoff maybe but no Cup so start the rebuild the moment Ovie gets 895. As most of the goalies on the list are at least 2-3 years away management has time to trade players for picks and start drafting better. Maybe even bundle some picks to move up slots in the draft to get the next franchise player or players and a pick.
Sammy was a first round pick. 🤔
So what does that mean? THat he is an annointed god and has to be kept? How about: Varna he is gone as is Burakovsky and Forsberg and Johansson (wellpack for 2 months) and Gustoffason who never even signed and Pokulok who did anything except be a career minor leaguer and Finley who was such a diasappointment and played a total of 321 games in teh NHl with other teams and mostly a vareer monor leaguer and overseas player (both he and Pokulok were drafted in the 1st round in 2005 and in 2002 we had 3 first rounders who did nothing or little, Eminger, Gordon adn the one who did little Semin. Other names of first rounders who didn make it include Southerby, Beeech, Boynton, Volchkov and Vhruch and Elomo both on 1995. So being a 1st round pick quarantees nothing. Therefor my questio is: how long do you fish with Sammy before you cut bait and get another goalie; especailly with what he is going to cost you next year for his average performance this year?
Stevenson and Bjorklund might be splitting duties in South Carolina if the Caps want them to play since Fucale and Shepherd should handle Hershey
I think that’s the initial plan.
Yeah it looks like Copley and either Sam or VV is gone I think so this gives the Hershey goalies and Stevenson a shot in the next 2 + years to maybe move up the ladder. I’d really love to know who the Caps are targeting for the starters job next year…
Thanks. I needed this. Now maybe I can keep our newer goalies straight.
The caps should draft a Gevery year…Jets may trade Helly but it would costly… Sammy and a 1st?
What are Sammy and Vanny for in trade? I’d say a 2nd round pick. A team might offer a late 1st for Sammy because of his raw talent and his development time is over.
2nd round pick is reasonable. Will depend on deal/team, but that’s the neighborhood.
Would rather trade Sammy for a second as I think that VV has the mind set to be a #2 where Sammy doesnt. Also dump salary which for the next few years will be important.
A 2nd round pick isn’t very much, unfortunately. Most often those picks don’t amount to anything.
Makes sense. I wouldn’t be shocked if that happens.
As a Hershey season ticket holder, I agree that it’s time to move on. He’s been a solid contributor for many years, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of younger guys who need more playing time. That’s the whole point of the minors – to find out what you have. I would be very happy to watch Fucale or Shepherd each night.
Thanks. I needed this
Would love to see a Campbell/Fucale combo in DC next season. The sammy/vv trial period is over. Time to move on from both
Fucale had a poor season in the AHL. His save percentage was below .900 and a not-so good 2.62 goals-against-average. Fucale got significantly outplayed by Copley in the second half of the season. He has done nothing to earn a backup job in the NHL
I actually think Stevenson gets the backup job in Hershey (30ish games) and Shepherd the 1 in South Carolina with Bjorklund the #2 in SC.
Stevenson is a better long term prospect, just turned 23 and shepherd is going to be almost 27 by the time next season starts. Not saying he doesn’t have a chance but time is passing him by and at this point I’d say great AHL depth goalie(same mold as Fucale or Copley) is his peak.
Stevenson will need to prove it. Undrafted college kid can’t be given a starter/backup role in Hershey right away.
There is no way Stevenson is in Hershey over Shepard at the start of the season. Shepard belonged in Hershey in this. He has played well whenever he has been given the chance with the Bears. With the way Fucale played this season, Shepard is more capable to take over as the top option if Fucale scuffles again. Stevenson has zero pro-experience. He needs to go to the ECHL to get his feet wet