Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pens acquire Vokoun

While the Kings attempt to make history tonight versus the Devils at Staples Center, another offseason move was made the other day. The Pens acquired goalie Tomas Vokoun from the Caps for a seventh round pick. Before Monday was over, they signed the veteran to a multi-year $4 million deal.

Vokoun will become Marc-Andre Fleury's backup, supplanting popular No.2 Brent Johnson. The 35-year old Czech is coming off a disappointing end to his one season in Washington with a groin injury knocking him out for the postseason. With Vokoun and Michael Neuvirth sidelined, unknown rookie Braden Holtby emerged into a surprising hero, backstopping the Caps past the Bruins in a great first round. He nearly duplicated it against the Rangers, who held off Washington for a seven-game second round win.

With Holtby the future in the nation's capital along with Neuvirth, it made sense for the Caps to cut ties with Vokoun, who was turning unrestricted July 1. Though he didn't have a great year, the former All-Star still won 25 games while posting a 2.51 GAA, .917 save percentage along with four shutouts. He'll now move to the Steel City to help bolster the Pens' goalie depth. On paper, it looks solid and should allow Dan Bylsma to rest Fleury sufficiently. It's no secret that the former Cup winner struggled mightily during the club's first round defeat to archrival Philadelphia. He hasn't performed up to par since helping lead the Penguins to their third Cup in '09.

The only issue that could make things dicey is if Fleury struggles and Vokoun outperforms him. With the Pens commiting two years to the reliable vet, that might happen. It should make for an interesting storyline next season barring no work stoppage. It'll be Vokoun's third team in three years.

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