The Pittsburgh Penguins made a big step to setting the starting and backup goalie in Pittsburgh for the upcoming season, trading for and signing veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun for two years. The Capitals dealt Vokoun to the Penguins for a seventh round pick on Monday, making a statement that Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth are the duo Washington wants between the pipes moving forward. Vokoun signed with Pittsburgh for two years, earning him two million dollars annually. Vokoun will likely take the back seat to Penguins’ franchise goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury but he’s okay with that.
Vokoun stated that he wanted to come to Pittsburgh to win and play for a championship contender. “The whole team is great. I’ve played against them for five years. I know that was one of the reasons why I decided to (sign). I want to be part of teams that are winning.” Vokoun talked about the role of backup goalie behind Fleury. “Marc is a goalie who’s won a Stanley Cup. He’s played quite a lot of hockey. I don’t think he needs anyone to tell him what he needs to do. There’s a lot of pressure on him. It’s not easy to play for a team and an organization that’s a contender every year. Any area I can help, I’m going to try and do so.”
Vokoun had a less than stellar year with the Washington Capitals. He was inconsistent in net and was injured during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Vokoun posted a 2.51 goals against average and a .917 save percentage along with a 25-17-2 record during the regular season. “I would love to win the Stanley Cup. I’ve been playing for a long time and I haven’t had a chance to do that,” Vokoun stated. “For me, I think I could be useful in many situations. Whatever they’re going to need me to do, I’m going to try and do the best I can to help the team be successful.”
Expect Vokoun to take some of the workload off Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulders and earn about twenty starts in the regular season. He will have the opportunity to provide encouragement to Fleury due to his experience in the league.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero reasoned Marc-Andre Fleury could take a break every couple days to stay fresh for the post season. “This is to help Marc-Andre. It’s to help his game. We still believe in Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s one of the better goalies in the League. But the position is demanding, both physically and mentally. If you can get a quality guy like this that has a track record like Tomas has, mentally it will give Marc a break, but it also challenges him. It challenges Tomas as well. This is the best goaltending tandem we’ve had in a long time.”
Below is a highlight video of Tomas Vokoun.