SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Goaltender Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers stops a shot by Jesse Winchester #18 of the Ottawa Senators on April 6, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Senators defeated the Panthers 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded a 7th round pick to the Washington Capitals for impending veteran free agent Tomas Vokoun and then Pittsburgh signed the soon to be 36 year old goalie for a two year contract worth an average of $2 million per season.
Vokoun is coming off a season ended by what was thought to be a serious groin injury, and given his age, that could be a troubling sign. However, his play has been solid in recent years, and even last year with the Caps he was a driving force of their season as the team struggled and adjusted to different coaching strategies.
For the Pens, this sends shockwaves across the goalie depth chart. Veteran backup Brent Johnson, who had been with the team for the past three seasons, posted just a .882 save percentage and struggled mightily at times. Youngster Brad Thiessen got his first taste of NHL action due to injury to Johnson and also was not that impressive.
There's also what this could mean for franchise goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. 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.
For now, the Pens have dramatically reshaped their netminding outlook for the next few years to come by trading virtually a throw-away pick for a veteran who's had one of the best save percentages in the league since the lockout.