Devils sign Vanecek to 3-year pact with $3.4M AAV

Posted: 20/07/2022 in NHL
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The New Jersey Devils avoided a salary arbitration hearing with restricted free-agent goaltender Vitek Vanecek by signing him to a three-year deal with an average annual value of $3.4 million.

Vanecek was one of the 24 restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration before Sunday’s deadline.

New Jersey acquired Vanecek and the 46th overall pick from the Washington Capitals ahead of the second day of the 2022 NHL Draft in exchange for the No. 37 and No. 70 selections.

“It feels really good, they have a future, young guys, there’s an opportunity for me to play lots of games,” he said shortly after signing his new deal, according to team beat reporter Amanda Stein. “I’m really happy for it. I will battle with (MackenzieBlackwood and that’s what I need.”

Washington scooped Vanecek up in the second round of the 2014 draft. The 26-year-old spent the first two seasons of his NHL career in the U.S. capital.

The Czechia native logged a .908 save percentage and 2.67 goals against average across 42 showings in 2021-22 while owning a record of 20-12-6.

However, Vanecek struggled in the first two games of the Capitals’ first-round playoff matchup against the Florida Panthers. He ultimately lost the postseason starting job to Ilya Samsonov after authoring a .863 save percentage and 4.21 goals against average versus the high-flying Cats.

Vanecek owns a career .908 save percentage and six shutouts in 79 outings.

Blackwood, 25, has one year remaining on his deal and carries a $2.8-million cap hit. He put up an .892 save percentage and 3.39 goals against average in 25 appearances during the 2021-22 campaign.

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