Tomas Vokoun knew he wouldn’t be back with the Washington Capitals next season, apparently right from the beginning.
“I wasn’t plan on being back here anyways,” Vokoun said on exit day. “For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year.”
That was assured Monday as the Caps dealt the rights to the unrestricted free agent goaltender to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a seventh-round pick in the draft later this month. The Penguins quickly signed him to a two-year deal worth $4 million.
Vokoun went 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .917 save percentage during his one season in Washington. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.5 million July 2, choosing that offer over the Detroit Red Wings’ one because it offered the opportunity to start.
Vokoun was said to be willing to be part of a tandem next season, which will certainly be the case with the Penguins, as he’d likely see 25-35 games while working alongside Marc-Andre Fleury. Vokoun’s agent, Allan Walsh, also represents Fleury.
At $2 million per season, Vokoun appears to be a strong value play for the Penguins. But there’s risk in that he injured his groin in late February and aggravated it twice in March, missing the rest of the season and the playoffs.
The Caps will very likely go into next season with the youthful goaltending tandem of Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth. Holtby cemented himself as an NHL goalie with his playoff run, though Neuvirth made it clear after the season was over that he wants to be the starter.
“I know I can be the No. 1 in this league. That’s my goal,” he said. “I will do whatever it takes to be the man.”