Over nine years in Music City, Tomas Vokoun transformed from a minor-league depth player into an All-Star and the backbone of one of the NHL’s most-competitive team. The last remaining Predator from the 1998 Expansion Draft was dealt to the Florida Panthers during the summer of 2007 and tonight he will suit up for his first game in the Sommet Center as a visitor.
After eight seasons as a Predator, the Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic native holds nearly every goaltending record in Nashville history. He played 383 games and notched 161 victories in a Predators uniform. Vokoun registered the franchise’s first shutout (Jan. 15, 1999 vs. Phoenix), appeared in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game and finished fourth in balloting in 2005-06 for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy (awarded to the league’s top goaltender). He backstopped the club to its first playoff appearance in 2004 and nearly stole the club’s first post-season series from the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings with a .939 save percentage.
Vokoun originally earned a spot as the team’s back-up goalie during the inaugural 1998-99 season, and played the “1B” role to Mike Dunham’s “1A” for the next three seasons. Dunham was dealt in December of 2002, and Vokoun played in 57 of Nashville’s 58 remaining games in 2002-03 as the new No. 1 goaltender.
Tomas was a contributor to numerous charitable organizations around Middle Tennessee and was one of the most visible Predators in the community during his tenure in Nashville, making countless trips to hospitals and local philanthropic events.
“Tomas Vokoun seized an opportunity with an expansion franchise, earned the No. 1 goaltending position with our team and has ultimately been a major part of Nashville’s success through our first nine seasons,” general manager David Poile said after the draft-day trade of Vokoun. “It may be time for a new chapter to begin for both Tomas and the Predators, but his contributions to our franchise, both on and off the ice, have been remarkable.”