by Patrick Hoffman on 07/19/11 at 10:00 AM ET
This is a question that many Washington Capitals’ fans have probably been wondering about since the team went out and signed UFA Tomas Vokoun.
There is no doubt that Vokoun has been one of the league’s best goaltenders over the last few seasons. Year in and year out, his goals against average, save percentage, shutouts, and shots stopped rank among the league’s best. Unfortunately for Vokoun, his success in the regular season has all been for naught as he was not able to get the Florida Panthers into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in any of the four seasons he was there.
With that said, he may get the chance to play in the playoffs should he play well enough in the Capitals’ crease this season. He has a terrific team in front of him that knows how to play good defense and of course, score goals with the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble and a slew of others.
However, it is not necessarily a guarantee that Vokoun will be the Capitals’ No. 1 netminder. He will have to compete with Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby, two very good young goaltenders, for that coveted spot.
Last season, with Semyon Varlamov injured for most of the season, Neuvirth was the main man in the crease for the Capitals. In 48 games, Neuvirth, 23, went 27-12-4 with a 2.45 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and 4 shutouts. Neuvrith was also solid in the playoffs for the Capitals and proved that he can play in big games at the NHL level.
While appearing in just 14 games, Holtby, 21, went 10-2-2 with a 1.79 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and 2 shutouts. He obviously made the most of his limited time and showed the Capitals that he too, like Neuvirth, can play well at the NHL level.
Will Vokoun, Neuvirth, or Holtby gain control of the crease or will this be something that Capitals’ fans and media alike will be talking about all season long?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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