The Capitals must be pretty confident in Braden Holty and Michal Neuvirth because they just let the Pens steal Tomas Vokoun for a seventh-round draft pick. On top of that amazing move, Ray Shero immediately wrapped Vokoun up for the next two years at $2 million a pop. BOOM. Roasted.
Vokie is 35 and he never wanted to go back to the Caps so he probably just wanted to head wherever he had the best chance of winning a Cup before his career is over. Can’t say he made a bad choice. He gives the Pens what has to be considered one of the top-5 goalie combos in the league.
Before you start flipping out, this is still Marc-Andre Fleury’s net but Vokie is 10 times better as a back up than what Brent Johnson’s shell was last year. Before a groin tear (sounds pretty miserable) and Holtby’s Tourette’s cost Vokie his starting job, he was 25-17-2 as the Caps’ starter with a .917 save percentage and a 2.51 GAA. Johnny had been a solid No. 2 for the Pens until he went 6-7 last year with a .883 save percentage and a 3.11 GAA. You can pretty much kiss Johnny goodbye now that he’s an unrestricted free agent.
You might be thinking that $2 mil is pretty steep for a back up but with the recent report that teams are operating with $70.3 million salary cap, the Pens found themselves some free wiggle room until the CBA is decided later in September.
But once the CBA mess is sorted out, the cap will be closer to last year’s $64.3 mil than the hypothesized $70.3M. That means Shero will probably have about $5 mil to work with. That’s being greedy…or safe. Hopefully it’s more but if it’s not, the Pens will only have 17 skaters and two goalies signed with not a whole lot of cap room to finalize an NHL roster.
Something else has to happen. Is Shero getting ready to pull the trigger on one of the many proposed Jordan Staal deals he’s received from fans and bloggers? Is Zbynek Michalek going to get his wish and lift his NMC and get dealt? Or are Pens fans going to get their wish and see Paul Martin get sent packing?
It’s still way to early to go bath salt crazy but you’ve got to think that something has to happen.