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NHL Free Agency: Tomas Vokoun off the Market, Signs with Pittsburgh Penguins

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 10:  Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Washington Capitals clears a shot in the second period against the Boston Bruins on March 10, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Jon ReidCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2012

In a story that seems to have materialized rather quickly, NHL.com reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired the rights to impending free agent Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals for their seventh-round pick in this year's NHL entry draft.

After suffering an injury after playing in just 48 games this season, Vokoun was sidelined for the rest of the season and duration of the playoffs. And with the Capitals goalie of the future, Braden Holtby, having put on a show in the postseason, it was fairly evident that Washington would not retain the services of the soon-to-be 36-year-old Vokoun.

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Pittsburgh Penguins have also come to terms on a contract with Vokoun. The Czech native will be in Pittsburgh for the next two seasons, earning $2 million per year, presumably as a backup to the young superstar Marc-Andre Fleury.

Bringing in the experienced goalie now gives Pittsburgh one of the top backup goaltenders in the league, which was undoubtedly one of their top offseason priorities.

Vokoun has not posted a goals-against average over 2.70 since the 1999-2000 season when he was a member of the Nashville Predators, and has posted a save percentage of at least .916 in every season since the 2004-2005 lockout season.

For Vokoun, the move to Pittsburgh is an opportunity for the aging puck-stopper to win his first Stanley Cup, as Pittsburgh is still considered one of the NHL's top teams, despite an early first-round exit this season at the hands of their in-state rival Philadelphia Flyers.

The addition of Vokoun should also be a welcome sight to 27-year-old Fleury, who has been forced to play in at least 65 games for each of the last three seasons due to Pittsburgh's lack of a reliable backup.

Perhaps Penguins GM Ray Shero thought fatigue was a contributing factor to Fleury's playoff woes in 2012 and felt he needed to acquire a more dependable backup to give Fleury more time off in 2012-2013.

 

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