His status as the Pittsburgh Penguins No. 1 netminder is still safe for now, but with the Pens’ recent addition of veteran netminder Tomas Vokoun, it could make for an interesting battle for crease time next season.
The Penguins acquired Vokoun Monday from the Washington Capitals in exchange for their seventh-round selection in the upcoming 2012 NHL draft. The Pens then immediately signed the 35-year-old puck stopper to a two-year contract worth $4 million.
Vokoun was expected to be the guy to finally get the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals but instead, his 2012 season was mired by inconsistent play and injuries. He went a respectable 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .917 save percentage, but much of his time in the crease in the early going of the season was split with Michal Neuvirth. Once both netminders went down with injuries, it led to the emergence of Braden Holtby during the postseason.
The Pens are hoping that Vokoun—if he manages to stay healthy—will provide the team with more stability between the pipes. Last year’s backup, Brent Johnson, who will now probably either be traded or released by the club before the start of training camp, had a rough 2012 season, going 6-7-2 with a .883 save percentage and 3.11 goals-against average.
As for Fleury, he shouldn’t feel too threatened, but then again, after his atrocious play in the arcade-style series the Pens had with the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round of the playoffs, it seems as though he will have to prove that he is still an elite goaltender in the NHL.