CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Tomas Vokoun, who was traded to the Penguins for a seventh-round pick on June 4.
HtWt: 6-1, 210
Goals Against Average: 2.51
Save Percentage: .917
Contract Status: Signed 2-year, 4 million contract with Penguins 2 million cap hit in 2012-13
Strengths: Steady presence between the pipes and in the locker room. Good teammate willing to accept blame when he plays poorly and equally willing to point out areas his team needs to improve upon. Honest, sometimes to a fault. Excellent positional goalie capable of filling the role as a starter or backup, although he has not played fewer than 44 games in his past nine seasons.
Weaknesses: Guilty of allowing occasional soft goals. Has difficulty finding the puck through traffic. Average to below average puck handler. Suffered a groin injury on March 16 then returned prematurely and reinjured his groin on March 29, ending his season.
Memorable Moment on the ice: Vokoun looked like he might be the answer to the Capitals goaltending quandary on Feb. 7 when he stopped all 42 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was his second straight shutout, moving him into 26th on the NHLs all-time list and improving his record to 22-13-1. We did some good things, Brooks Laich said after that win, which moved the Caps one point ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings. But the difference maker was Tomas. Vokouns season went downhill after that. He went 3-4-1 in his final eight decisions and a groin injury ended his hopes of participating in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Memorable Moment off the ice: Vokoun was an open book all season. In September, when a plane carrying the entire Lokomotiv hockey team crashed, killing everyone on board, Vokoun expressed the grief of losing one of his closest friends, former teammate Josef Vasicek. Later, he talked about how he overestimated his value in free agency before signing with the Capitals and how much he missed his wife and two daughters, who spent the entire season in Florida. And, two days after the season ended, he was incredibly frank with reporters when asked about his playing future. I wasnt planning on being back here anyways, Vokoun said. For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year. A few weeks later Vokoun and his agent orchestrated a trade to Pittsburgh.
2012-13 Expectations: The Penguins might have acquired the perfect backup for Marc-Andre Fleury. Vokoun is certainly capable of giving Fleury the rest he needs while not sacrificing much in performance. Dont be surprised if Vokoun goes on a run or two that keeps Fleury on the bench and raises questions in Pittsburgh over who should be the starter in the playoffs. But it appears Vokou streak of nine straight seasons with 20 or more wins will end.