Dec 21, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT
When Tomas Vokoun was forced to the sidelines due to a blood clot, the Pittsburgh Penguins turned to Jeff Zatkoff to serve as their new backup goaltender. The 26-year-old had no NHL experience, but he’s held his own with a 2.46 GAA and .912 save percentage in eight games.
Now the Penguins have made Zatkoff part of their plans beyond the 2013-14 campaign by announcing that they have signed him to a two-year/$1.2 million contract. He had been scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after serving out his current two-year, two-way deal.
Re-signing Zatkoff is the first step the Penguins have taken towards addressing their goaltending situation. Vokoun, 37, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Assuming that this new deal means Pittsburgh plans to enter the 2014-15 with Marc-Andre Fleury and Zatkoff, the next question is what the Penguins’ long-term plans are.
Fleury’s contract only runs through 2014-15 and while he’s been great this season, the bigger question is how he will perform in the playoffs. If he collapses once again in the postseason, then the Penguins might end up looking for a new starter.
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