As the regular season begins to draw nigh, day by day, the time has come to predict and begin to take a look at what the Caps and their fans can expect from each player on the roster. Today's player is new goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who will begin his fist season with the organization in the fall after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract on July 2.
Recap of Last Season: Vokoun played last season with the Florida Panthers. He started 57 games, winning 22 of them, while compiling a 2.55 GAA, .922 Save%, and six shutouts. As one of the better goalies in the NHL, Vokoun played most of Florida's games, when healthy, as Peter DeBoer tried whatever he could to make the Panthers respectable. Towards the end of the year, Vokoun suffered a back injury that kept him out for a few games, but otherwise, he was his usual rock self and was one of the NHL's best.
Expectations for this Season: As Vokoun jumps from one of the worst defensive teams in the league to one of the best this season, his numbers can be expected to improve significantly. As I wrote above, Vokoun has been a very good goaltender at the NHL level for a prolonged period; he is tied with Tim Thomas for the best save percentage since the lockout. Behind a defense that allows fewer shots, Washington needs Vokoun to continue to be his stalwart self for this one-year contract. And don't think Vokoun isn't motivated. He wants to win, and he wants to get paid after this year. He's gonna be good.
Playing Time: 1-A goaltender. As I wrote in my season preview for Michal Neuvirth, I think that Vokoun should see abut 55 starts during the regular season, give or take a few. The regular season isn't when he will be judged; it's the playoffs that matter. Barring a catastrophic collapse, Vokoun should be the playoff goalie come mid-April.
Projections: 50 GP, 33-13-4 record, 2.36 GAA, .921 save percentage.
The next season preview will feature Alexander Semin.