Imagine my surprise when I saw on TSN Sports Centre that the Pittsburgh Penguins traded a 7th round draft pick to the Washington Capitals for the rights to negotiate with soon to be free agent goaltender Tomas Vokoun. This was completely out of left field to me, as there was no indication that the Penguins were even interested in the veteran goaltender.
The Penguins then locked Vokoun up with a 2 year contract worth 4 million dollars and will back up All-Star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for the next two seasons. This is a great move by the Penguins as Fleury appeared to be burned out by the start of the play-offs due to the ineffective play of Brent Johnson. Even on scheduled nights off for Fleury, he had to be put into the game after Johnson played poorly.
Last season for Washington, Vokoun appeared in 48 games, with a win-lost record of 25-17-2, a 2.51 goals against average and a save percentage of .917. He also posted 4 shut outs during the season. Injuries and the coming out party of Brian Holtby in this year’s play-offs cost Vokoun not just the chance to be a starter in Washington but also his chance at being a back-up as well.
The goaltender has always posted superb numbers whether he was playing in Nashville, Florida and this past season in Washington. In Nashville he played a total of 383 games, had a goals against of 2.54, a save percentage of .920, posted 18 shutouts and a record of 161-159-46.
When he played for the lowly Florida Panthers, Vokoun played some amazing hockey and was the reason that the Panthers were as competitive as they were. In 248 games for them he had a goals against of 2.57, a save percentage of .928, posted 23 shutouts and a record of 101-108-23.
Over the course of his entire career, Vokoun posted some amazing numbers considering that he has never really played for a powerhouse team. His career has seen him play in 680 games, had a goals against of 2.55, a save percentage of .917, posted 48 shutouts and an all time record of 287-284-92. If you look at these sections of numbers individually and then overall as a body of work for his career, you can see that his numbers are amazing but his win-loss record is around .500 overall. Imagine if he ever had a team that could put up goals on the score sheet.
Ideally I think the Pens need him to play about 25 to 30 games at the most. He will allow Fleury to receive some much needed rest but should also give the Pens some solid minutes. He has played for a lot less talented teams and excelled, so this is his chance to show what he can do on one of the top teams in the NHL.
The big question is however, if Fleury wears #29 and Vokoun wears #29……what number will Vokoun wear? I vote for #92.
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