Monday, June 4, 2012

Penguins acquire Tomas Vokoun from Capitals

By Finesse

The Pens traded a 7th round pick to the Capitals for the rights to Tomas Vokoun.  The Pens then signed Vokoun to a 2-year contract at $2 million/year.  Vokoun waived a no-trade clause to come to Pittsburgh.

We like to think of you as a Panther
This is a great move for the Pens.  We said all season that the backups the Pens were trotting out there were not cutting it and it was time to invest more into the position.  During the year, it wasn't meant as a shot at Fleury -- it was more about just having a more competent backup.  The popular notion that Fleury was overworked this year doesn't hold  up.  He played in 67 games, just two more than '10-'11, the same as '09-'10, and 5 more than '08-'09.  The problem during the season wasn't Fleury being tired, it's that the backups were terrible and the Pens hardly won any of those games.  The result was the #4 seed, and we know how that turned out.

But with Fleury's meltdown in the playoffs, a competent backup is more necessary than ever.  We've always been loathe for the Pens to have anything resembling a goal-tending controversy, but that was when Fleury had earned the right not to battle for his position.  We love MAF, but he's lost that right.  He should still be the #1 goalie, and it's clearly his job to lose.  It's just that the leash is a little tighter, and that's a good thing.

To sum it up, there are 2 benefits to this move.  The Pens actually may have a chance at winning games Fleury doesn't start, and if Fleury goes meltdown mode in the playoffs again, we have a Plan B.  Good trade.


  1. Wow. What a shocker. Didn't Vokoun turn down a long term deal in the $5-6M a year range from the Panthers last July? He should sue his agent.

    But barring injury (and he was injured for a large part of this season), this is a great signing. When he was a Panther, I thought Vokoun is a top 5 goalie in the NHL. Turns out he was only that when facing the Pens. On the other hand, Vokoun is one of those goalies who need to see a lot of rubber to excel in a game, kind of like Jaroslav Halak (which explains why he was so good against the Pens). Sitting on the bench for 10 game stretches might present a whole new challenge for him.

    What do you guys think this move says about the Pens' intentions for:
    a) Staal - they are definitely not cutting costs here (although the projected salary cap is about $7M higher than the current one)

    b) the defense - is this Shero's way of dealing with the blue line's issues?

  2. Not sure whether it changes anything with Staal. I've been pretty clear saying I think we should keep him this season unless we get an incredible return on dealing him because I believe that he gives us the best chance of winning the Cup in 12-13.

    It's a lot of money to be spending $7mil on goalies. Other than the obvious -- trying to move Paul Martin -- one thing to watch for is the Pens to move Kunitz. He slowed down at the end of the year, and he's scheduled to make 3.725 next season and 13-14. Better to cut bait a year early than a year late. Only problem is that we have no adequate replacement (not to mention that we love Hands). Probably won't happen, but it's one off-the-radar move I wouldn't be surprised by.