Tomas Vokoun Makes Smart Move in Signing with Pittsburgh Penguins

Riley Kufta@@RileyKuftaContributor IIIJune 4, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Washington Capitals watches warmups prior to his game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

By now, it's fair to assume that most have already heard that Tomas Vokoun is now a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins

But for those who haven't: earlier today, the Washington Capitals sent Tomas Vokoun to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick. The Penguins then quickly re-signed Vokoun to a two-year, $4 million contract. 

The 35-year-old Czech Republic native will now take his talents to Pittsburgh, where he will likely serve as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. 

The move comes as a surprise to some, as Vokoun has spent the majority of the past 10 seasons as a starting goaltender and still appears to be in form. 

Although injuries troubles held him out for part of the regular season and the entirety of the postseason, Vokoun's 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage through 48 games last season was sufficient proof that he's still capable of being a No. 1. 

So why did he sign a contract that would put him in a supporting role for the next two years?

For quite some time now, Vokoun has been considered an elite goaltender in the NHL. Through 14 seasons in the league, he has an average save percentage of .917, and a winning record despite being on a non-playoff team for the majority of his career. 

Yet through all his great play, he's never received the greatest achievement of all: the Stanley Cup. 

At 35 years old, he still has some years left, but the clock is ticking. Becoming a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins is likely the smartest decision to make if he intends on winning the hardware before calling it a career. 

And that is what makes this decision so respectable. 

Vokoun sacrificed his ego for the sake of a meaningful career. He knows he still has what it takes to be a No. 1, but he succumbed to supporting role for the purpose of winning the Stanley Cup. 

It must be an empty feeling to play a career in the NHL and never win it all, knowing there's no makeovers, no going back. Vokoun will do whatever it takes to avoid that feeling. 

And who knows, maybe he will be between the pipes while Fleury watches from the bench for the next two years.