New Jersey Devils: How Can Vitek Vanecek Regain Fans Trust?

Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils were in every goalie rumor this offseason. Literally. At least ten goalie names had been mentioned as tied to the Devils. Alas, we sit here and Vitek Vanecek is the goalie of record.

The goaltending position will be a trending topic amongst Devils fans all season. Unless a surprise trade for Connor Hellebuyck happens in September, the Devils know the conversation about goaltending will cloud the season. That’s honestly okay because the risk was not worth it. Making the wrong move in net could seriously put the Devils’ ability to win over the long term in jeopardy.

So, Vanecek is the move. We welcomed Glenn “Chico Resch ” on Wednesday night on the Let’s Go Devils Podcast. We were discussing the 50 Greatest Devils of All Time, but we ended up talking about Vanecek and the future in net.

We all agreed that giving Vanecek one more chance made sense. We’ve given examples as to why this might work. Vanecek’s issues have nothing to do with skill or development. There’s either an issue between his ears, or he has a conditioning issue. Both of those can be fixed by the right coaches.

Vanecek had a career year last season, but that came with a career-high games played. We saw a much different version of Vanecek in the playoffs. Again, that could have come from the pressure of the moment, or it might have been just that he was tired.

Vanecek will now have to prove himself again. That’s how the playoffs can change perspective, both good or bad. Look at Michael McLeod. He changed his perspective in a major positive despite only having four goals in the regular season. Vanecek is facing the opposite situation.

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How can he regain the trust of this fanbase? Will a great regular season force fans to get excited about his playoff prospects? Can Vanecek do anything to gain fans’ trust before the postseason?

It’s an uphill climb, but if Vanecek takes on the load this season, he can get back in the fans’ good graces. Being an athlete is finicky, but fans have short memories. What have you done for me lately can work for good. This can happen for Vanecek, but he has to win some games early and often.