Tomas Vokoun made it clear after the Washington Capitals’ season ended that he won’t be back next season.
“I wasn’t plan on being back here anyways,” he said May 14. “For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year.”
That makes Vokoun an unrestricted free agent July 1. And while a report surfaced May 14 that he was considering signing with the new Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, that will not happen.
“Tomas Vokoun has decided not to accept an offer from a KHL team at the present time,” his agent, Allan Walsh, wrote on Twitter Friday. “He is solely focused on playing in the NHL next year.”
Vokoun, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Caps last season, chose that deal over the Detroit Red Wings’ similar offer because it included the ability to be the starting goaltender.
He will turn 36 on July 2 and missed the end of the regular season and the Caps’ playoff run with a groin injury, the first of his NHL career. It is believed that Vokoun is open to all possibilities in the NHL, including being part of a goaltending tandem.
Several teams could be interested in Vokoun’s services this summer, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Outgoing Toronto assistant GM Rick Dudley said the franchise needs an elite goaltender. Vokoun was 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .917 save percentage and four shutouts last season with the Caps.
Vokoun said the groin injury, which flared up twice in March, was fully healed.
“It’s nice to be, obviously, healthy and feel if whatever happens you can play and be effective there and be able to play without pain,” he said.