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Vokoun signing gives Penguins a viable playoffs alternative

Jun 7, 2012, 11:10 AM EDT

Washington Capitals v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a lot of reasons to be happy about inking Tomas Vokoun to a two-year/$4 million contract. Not the least of which is that it gives them an extra option during the postseason.

Marc-Andre Fleury couldn’t get the job done against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their loss wasn’t entirely his fault, but the fact that they stuck with as he gave up 17 goals in Games 1 through 3 speaks volumes about how unwilling they were to give backup Brent Johnson a start.

Fleury ended up playing in all six games, posting a 4.63 GAA and .834 save percentage. That’s the third straight year that Fleury has finished the playoffs with a save percentage below .900.

So at this point, the Penguins might need an alternative to Fleury when the going gets tough. Penguins GM Ray Shero was recently asked if Vokoun could be a viable postseason option if Fleury struggles.

“Yeah,” Shero said. “It depends on how Tomas is playing, certainly, but with a guy like Vokoun, the last five or six years his save percentage is amongst the best in the league, and that’s playing lots of games.

“Internal competition is good. I hope it’s going to (bring out) the best in Marc. And the same thing with Tomas. He’s got a guy like Marc who’s going to push him for the net. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Maybe some competition is all Fleury will need to keep him sharp. Maybe playing in fewer games during the regular season will help. Still, if all else fails, the Penguins now have a plan B they can be comfortable with. That’s more than they had a few months ago.

  1. jpelle82 - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    i’ve been down on vokoun ever since he was in florida, dont think he should be a starter. i guess i can get behind him as a back-up for my pens. shero needs to fix the real problem at the blue line first in my opinion, they hung fleury out to dry the last couple weeks of the season and all six games against philly.

  2. cgspens - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Johnson wasn’t 100% for the last part of the season and that could have been why he wasn’t called on to help bail out Flower. Brent gave us some good back-up and we should be able to get something for him in return. Maybe this will give us some space in the cap to really make sure our three centers will be Pens for a long time.This all depends upon the CBA talks this off season.

  3. watermelon1 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Umm… Not if he plays like he did this past year.

    • stakex - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Huh? His numbers weren’t THAT bad last year… and he actually had a higher save percentage then Fleury did.

  4. sherbe23 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    There not going to get anything in return because he’s a free agent

    • crosberries - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Hahaha

  5. ballsohardu - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Never want a goalie controversy. Can see this blowing up before their eyes. Questionable signing

  6. claysbar - Jun 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    I’m just surprised that they gave him a limited no trade clause with him being 35+. CapGeek didn’t list the terms.

  7. stakex - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    I still think that Fleury is the most over rated goalie in the NHL these days. Hes often talked about as one of the top goalies, but his numbers just don’t fit with that. His career S% is .909 and his career GAA is 2.68 (.904 / 2.68 in the playoffs). Those are middle of the pack numbers at best, almost backup material at worst.

    So with that said, the Pens signing Vokoun should scare Fleury. His career numbers are actually better then Fleury (.917% / 2.55GAA in 240 more games), and he didn’t look too bad with the Caps at times last year. If Fleury has a bad start to the season, its not hard to think Vokoun might be able to win the starting job.

    Either way though, one thing remains very clear: The Pens still do not have a shut down, top flight goalie… and without one they shouldn’t be considered Cup favorites no matter how front loaded they are.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      i would take fleury over any other goalie in the league during a reg season shootout, especially at home. he has singlehandedly won game after game in shooutouts the past 2 years, big reason the pens still made the playoffs without malkin or crosby 2 years ago.

  8. bru308 - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    As a Pens fan (long before 2005), I also believe Fleury is wildly overrated. I blame it on all the bandwagon fans who never saw any other goalie be the starter in Pittsburgh. Sad but true.

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