May 5: The Coyotes have officially announced the contract for Vejmelka, confirming that it will start in the 2021-22 season. GM Bill Armstrong released a short statement:
We are very pleased to sign Karel. He is a talented young goaltender with the combination of size and quickness. We look forward to working with him next season and will monitor his development.
May 4: The Arizona Coyotes have come to an agreement with a goaltending prospect as CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that they’ve signed goalie Karel Vejmelka to a one-year, entry-level deal. The contract is for next season and carries a $750K base salary, a $92.5K signing bonus, and $82.5K in performance bonuses for a $925K AAV. CapFriendly originally reported that Nashville had signed Vejmelka but subsequently revised that report.
The 24-year-old was drafted by Nashville all the way back in 2015 when they selected him with the 145th overall selection but they lost his rights by not signing him by 2019. Since then, he has played with HC Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga. This season, Vejmelka posted a 2.79 GAA along with a save percentage of .911 in 35 regular season games, numbers that were actually below his career averages in that league (2.56 GAA, .913 SV%).
With Antti Raanta and Adin Hill both on expiring contracts this season, there appears to be a potential opening for someone to step in, especially if Hill moves up to Arizona to back up Darcy Kuemper. Vejmelka joins Ivan Prosvetov and David Tendeck as other goalies under contract for next season. Prosvetov has split his time between the AHL and NHL while Tendeck has exclusively played in the ECHL so on the surface, it appears as if Vejmelka will be battling Tendeck for a spot in AHL Tucson next season.