Capitals sign Vokoun on the cheap

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes a stop against the Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.,...

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes a stop against the Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Feb. 4, 2011. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)

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ARLINGTON, VA - The Washington Capitals filled a vacancy in the crease on Saturday by signing veteran free-agent netminder Tomas Vokoun to a one-year contract.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but multiple outlets are reporting a $1.5 million price tag.

"We are excited to add an elite veteran goaltender to the Capitals," said Washington general manager George McPhee. "We now have a nice blend of talent, depth, experience and youth in the goaltending position."

With the imminent departure of Semyon Varlamov to Russia that turned into dealing the 23-year-old to the Colorado Avalanche for two draft picks on Friday, Vokoun's addition in the crease to back two young prospects was a necessary move.

The 35-year-old Czech went 22-28-5 with six shutouts and a 2.55 goals-against average in 57 games last season for the Florida Panthers, who failed to reach the postseason for the 10th straight campaign.

A two-time All-Star (2004, 2008) selection, Vokoun has racked up a 262-267-76 record, 2.56 GAA, .917 save percentage and 44 whitewashes in 632 games with the Canadiens, Predators and Panthers. He has guided his home nation to a pair of gold medals at the World Championships (2005, 2010), and a bronze medal at the Torino Olympics in 2006.

His presence is expected to guide both Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby into bigger roles with the club in the near future.

Neuvirth, 23, went 27-12-4 with a 2.45 GAA and four shutouts last season, while Holtby was an impressive 10-2-2 with two shutouts and a 1.79 GAA in 10 games during his rookie campaign.

"I'm very excited to join the Washington Capitals organization," Vokoun admitted. "It is a terrific team with a lot of talent and I look forward to doing everything I can for us to reach our ultimate goal in winning the Stanley Cup."


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