Well, another year, another new Devils goalie. After the absolute disaster in 2021-22, when the Devils played no fewer than SEVEN goalies (and dressed an 8th), Tom Fitzgerald sought to regulate the goaltending situation by trading for the rights to impending free agent Vitek Vanecek.
Vitek is a Czech national, who was drafted 39th Overall by the Washington Capitals in 2014. He arrived in America in 2015, playing for the South Carolina Stingrays before spending 3 seasons playing for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. He made his NHL debut in the 2020-21 season, splitting time with Ilya Samsonov.
In July 2021, Vanecek was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. One week later, he was traded back to the Capitals for a second-round pick in 2023.
Thereafter, the Capitals elected to blow up their goaltending situation not only by parting ways with Ilya Samsonov, but also trading Vanecek, an impending restricted free agent, to the Devils in exchange for an exchange of second round picks and an additional third round pick from New Jersey.
Vitek made his Devils debut on October 15, 2022, and in true recent Devils style was shelled in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Finding pucks signed by current Devils has become quite easy, as multiple people have been frequenting the parking lot outside of Devils’ practices and getting many players to sign. This one was found on eBay, reasonably priced, so I snapped it up. Happy to have Vitek in New Jersey.