The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a seventh round draft pick. The team then signed Vokoun to a two-year deal with a two million dollar cap hit.
Vokoun signed a one-year deal with the Capitals during free agency last year. Many – myself included – believed he would be the piece to finally push the Caps into a legitimate playoff threat rather than the regular season powerhouse which inexplicably collapsed in the early rounds of the playoffs year after year.
Safe to say that didn’t happen.
The Capitals finished with the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and failed to win the worst division in hockey, only to be ousted by the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs.
Vokoun had an average year, but it wasn’t quite the year I expected of him. In 48 games, his 2.51 goals against average was solid and actually better than his career average, but his .917 save percentage was his worst since the 2003-04 season when Vokoun played in Nashville.
A torn groin ended Vokoun’s season early and he never appeared in the playoffs, though he insists be was fully recovered by then.
On May 14, Vokoun told the media, “I wasn’t planning on being back [in Washington] anyways. For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year.”
The Penguins never planned on bringing backup goaltender Brent Johnson back to the team after his contract ran out this year and this acquisition seals the deal on Johnson’s career in Pittsburgh.
The trade doesn’t mean Marc-Andre Fleury‘s job is on the line. He was phenomenal in the regular season, accruing a 42-17-4 record with a 2.36 GAA. What it does mean, though, is that the Penguins can afford to give Fleury some more time off during the season and down the stretch which could ultimately mean a fresher MAF come playoff time.
Vokoun, who has hasn’t played less than 44 games in a season since 2001-02, will turn 36 on July 2.
As this video shows, he may not pack quite the one-punch KO power Brent Johnson does, but Vokoun can hold his own when he drops the glove and blocker:
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