10/11 Salary: $5.7 million
11/12 Projected Salary: $5-5.5 million
Now that Ilya Bryzgalov is off the board, Tomas Vokoun is undoubtedly the top goalie available in this summer’s frenzy. Heck, he may be the only one that a team can rely on to start 60-plus games, despite turning 35 this coming weekend.
For a long time I’ve felt Vokoun is one of the more underrated netminders in the NHL. In Florida he’s been stuck on a bad team. Prior to that, with Nashville, he was a solid and consistent performer. This past season with the Panthers, Vokoun was mysteriously benched by head coach Pete DeBoer, something he voiced frustration with. Will he give new coach Kevin Dineen a chance or head elsewhere this summer? I’d lean towards the latter.
Vokoun is going to rake in pretty good money, especially since there are a few teams needing a starter (Bryzgalov’s recent hefty extension helps him here).
Colorado has to be one of the favored landing spots for Vokoun. As of now, the Avs don’t have any goaltenders signed at the NHL level. They were by far the worst team between the pipes last season and are looking for an upgrade. I also wouldn’t rule out Edmonton or Phoenix. However, with the Coyotes – why would they go after Vokoun when they wouldn’t pony up for Bryzgalov?
Three teams that make sense:
- Colorado Avalanche
With Ilya Bryzgalov off the board, Vokoun assumedly is at the top of their list.
- Edmonton Oilers
Cap space isn’t a problem to the Oilers, who can’t trust Nikolai Khabibulin anymore.
- Florida Panthers
I wouldn’t totally rule out the Panthers in this if Vokoun doesn’t get the deal he wants on the open market.
Current favorite: Colorado
Dark-horse destination: Phoenix
Prediction: Colorado Avalanche (3 years, $15.75 million)