|#30 flashing some glove|
Hot on the heels of yesterday's contract extension by Tom Poti, the Washington Capitals announced today that the team and goaltender Michal Neuvirth agreed to a two-year extension worth $1.15 million per year. The 22-year old Czech netminder was selected by the Caps in the 2nd round (34th overall, 4th goalie selected) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and has put together a 11-5-0 record in 22 starts for the Caps, with a .910 Sv% and 2.80 GAA. Neuvi is expected to draw on his experience from back-to-back Calder Cup championships with the Hershey Bears to backstop the Capitals this season alongside Semyon Varlamov.
Neuvirth's career has seen him play with three different OHL teams (Plymouth Whalers, Windsor Spirfires, Oshawa Generals), a season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, a stint with the Czech Republic for World Juniors, in Pennsylvania with the AHL's Hershey Bears, and in DC as a formidable replacement for injured Capital goalies Jose Theodore and the aformentioned Varlamov. Through all of his global travels, Neuvi has embodied what he has come to be known for- consistency and composure. No matter what level of competition, he has strung together similar GAA's (2.69, 2.28, 2.50, 2.45 amd 2.80 in the OHL, ECHL, WJC, AHL and NHL, respectively) and save percentages (.922, .911, .910, .912 and .910 in the OHL, ECHL, WJC, AHL and NHL, respectively).
Often perceived as second-fiddle to Varlamov, it is quite peculiar to see that Neuvi was re-upped prior to the oft-injured Russian goaltender. While it is not unfathomable to believe Neuvirth will win the starters-role, it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds and how Bruce Boudreau works to split netminding duties. As many Caps fans were clamoring for the addition of a veteran goalie during the off season, I believe a little competition in net is just what the doctor ordered to elevate play.