The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals in exchange for their seventh-round selection in the upcoming 2012 NHL Draft, and signed him to a two-year contract worth $4 million.
Vokoun had to waive a no-movement clause in order for the trade to happen.
"What we have found, and it's not hard to see, is that there's just a lack of goaltending depth that's available (in the NHL)," general manager Ray Shero said on the Penguins' official website. "Instead of waiting until July 1, we identified Tomas and the chance to get his rights, that made sense to us. A guy like that, with his experience, made sense to us.
"It didn't take too long to get a deal done. It's good for both of us."
Vokoun should ease some of the workload on Marc-Andre Fleury, who tied his career high by appearing in 67 games last season. Fleury won 42 games in the regular season but struggled in a first-round loss to the Flyers, with a 4.63 GAA and .834 save percentage.
"This is to help Marc-Andre. It's to help his game," Shero said. "We still believe in Marc-Andre Fleury. He's one of the better goalies in the League. But the position is demanding, both physically and mentally. If you can get a quality guy like this that has a track record like Tomas has, mentally it will give Marc a break, but it also challenges him. It challenges Tomas as well. This is the best goaltending tandem we've had in a long time."
Vokoun, who turns 36 on July 2, was seen by some as the missing piece to the puzzle when he signed a one-year contract with the Capitals last summer. He went 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .917 save percentage while splitting time with incumbent Michal Neuvirth.
Vokoun didn't play in a game after March 29 due to a serious groin injury, and Neuvirth's own injury woes led to rookie Braden Holtby assuming the No. 1 job for the Capitals late in the season and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they ousted the defending champion Bruins in seven games before losing to the Rangers in another seven-game series.
Vokoun has 287 career wins along with a 2.55 GAA and .917 save percentage in 680 career games for the Canadiens, Predators, Panthers and Capitals.
"Tomas is a good goaltender; he's a good person," Shero said. "I was with him for a number of years in Nashville. (Assistant GM) Tom Fitzgerald played with him in Nashville, so we know the character of the player."
I kept refreshing the page on the NHL website after the second round and I was shocked he lasted that long. I'm sure the Coyotes were pretty happy to get him. He's such a good player and he plays big in big games.
— Arizona forward Henrik Samuelsson on prospect Edgars Kulda being drafted by the Coyotes