The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals getting together on a trade is newsworthy in itself; alas, this one doesn't involve Kris Beech. Rather, it involves a goaltender whose relocation to the Steel City could be one of the Penguins' most significant offseason moves.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The Penguins then signed Vokoun to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $2 million. Vokoun's contract begins with the 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign
Vokoun, 35, compiled a record of 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 48 games during the 2011-12 season with the Capitals. He wasn't coming back to DC after Braden Holtby's stellar postseason and with Michal Neuvirth on the roster.
That's a $500,000 raise from his 2011-12 salary with the Capitals, and an extra year on his deal. He'll replace Brent Johnson as the team's backup netminder, as he's an unrestricted free agent this season.
Now, what does this mean for Marc-Andre Fleury?
Rest, for starters.
He tied a career high with 67 appearances last season, including 14 starts in March and April. There was talk that fatigue factored into his horrendous play in the postseason: 4.63 GAA and an .834 save percentage.
But his horrendous play in the postseason no doubt factored into Vokoun coming aboard, too. Fleury knew as well as anyone that the Penguins weren't turning the keys over to Brent Johnson against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Would they have played Vokoun after a seven-goal Game 2?
Fleury has a long-term contract and played really solidly in the regular season before falling apart during the playoffs. Vokoun and Fleury also share an agent (Allan Walsh) so it'd be difficult to see Walsh advising Vokoun (old and at the end of his rope) to signing with the Pens if it would drastically upset the younger and more profitable client in Fleury. So we'll take it with a grain of salt and see how everything will shake out.
If Fleury's upset with this … good. It's a challenge he needs after coming off the worst playoffs that he's had; and it's an insurance policy the Penguins clearly realized that they had to own in case Fleury imploded again.