When Ray Shero traded a seventh-round pick to the Washington Capitals for Tomas Vokoun, it took a minute to register in my head. Vokoun, a top 10 goalie for most of his career and one of my favorite non-Penguin goalies, was now a Pittsburgh Penguin. I, like most Pens fans, was ecstatic.
The veteran goalie did come at a price. Shero offered Vokoun a half-million raise from his previous contract and he would be making $1.4 million more than Brent Johnson did last year. That said, Vokoun remains one of, if not the, best backup in the NHL. A strong backup is just what Pittsburgh needs, especially following the implosion of everything related to defense last playoffs.
Considering Vokoun's lengthy resume, potential drama and meaning behind the signing has become the season's goalie narrative. No goalie, not even Marc-Andre Fleury, should feel comfortable in his position after the last three early playoff exits. Giving him a little competition won't hurt and will give the Pens desperately needed options without turning the crease into a reality show.
Speculation began. How many games would Vokoun start in comparison to Fleury? The consensus was around 15-20 which is a safe bet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Bylsma calling on Vokoun even more. After a closer look, the decision to bring Vokoun to the Steel City seems to be deeper than simply lighting a fire under Fleury's derrière.
How Tomas Vokoun Makes this a Critical Season for Fleury
PensBurgh | Jan 24