Tomas Vokoun Washington Capitals

Photo credit: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

One day after trading Semyon Varlamov to Colorado for a first and second round pick, General Manager George McPhee got the bargain of a lifetime when Tomas Vokoun agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Finally, a veteran goalie talented enough to provide skill and stabilization in net who could help put his team over the top.

“I don’t think we anticipated being this fortunate,” McPhee said.

Spending time with Montreal, Nashville, and the Florida Panthers for the past four seasons hasn’t given Vokoun a chance at winning too often, but could the move to Washington put him in position to win the Vezina trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender?

The National Hockey League is full of superstar netminders, and Tomas Vokoun is one of them.  Only current Vezina winner Tim Thomas has a better save percentage than Vokoun since the lockout (by 0.00002 of a point), and the former 9th round pick led the Czech national team to a gold medal at the 2010 world championships.

Now with Washington’s offense and defense both superior to Florida’s, he has a chance at adding the Vezina Trophy to his accolades.

The Vezina is awarded to the league’s best goalie. Since the lockout, the best goalie has averaged 41 wins, a 2.12 GAA, and .928 save percentage.

Vezina Winners Since 2005

Season Player Age GP W GAA SV% In Playoffs
2010-11 Tim Thomas 36 57 35 2.00 0.938 Yes
2009-10 Ryan Miller 29 69 41 2.22 0.929 Yes
2008-09 Tim Thomas 34 54 36 2.10 0.933 Yes
2007-08 Martin Brodeur 35 77 44 2.17 0.920 Yes
2006-07 Martin Brodeur 34 78 48 2.18 0.922 Yes
2005-06 Miikka Kiprusoff 29 74 42 2.07 0.923 Yes
Average 33 68 41 2.12 0.928  

Let’s see how Tomas Vokoun might perform this year in these three stats: wins, goals against, and save percentage.

Washington has won close to two-thirds of their games (.622) over the past two seasons while Florida (.390) has not even been close to a .500 team, so winning enough games for consideration shouldn’t be an issue.

Goals against are determined by the goalie’s save percentage and the team’s shots against. Washington has given up fewer shots on goal than Florida in each of the past two seasons and Vokoun’s lowest save percentage over the past five seasons has been .919.

Because the definition of a shot on goal can vary from rink to rink, we reduce this effect and any in-game score effects by looking only at road games when the score is tied at even strength. Washington still comes out ahead.

Goalie GP Sv% Sh/Gm
Tomas Vokoun 57 0.927 11.1
Michal Neuvirth 29 0.900 9.0
Semyon Varlamov 26 0.896 9.7
Braden Holtby 8 0.931 3.6
WSH G total 63 0.900 8.6
Road games when the score is tied during even strength, last two seasons

Facing fewer shots against should not only decrease Vokoun’s goals against average (GAA) but also help him record significantly more shutouts.

So, if we put Vokun’s projected numbers for 2011-12 in context of his new team we have average boxcar stats of:

Goalies GP W Sv% GAA
Tomas Vokoun (adjusted) 55 36 0.923 2.32
Tim Thomas (current winner) 57 35 0.938 2.00
Vezina winners since the lockout 68 41 0.928 2.12

Looks like Vezina-caliber numbers to me.

  • Ralph

    How did you handle PKsv%?

  • Sturt

    Now THAT is some exciting forecasting.

  • Devin Shannon

    I can’t wait to see what this guy can do now that he has a good team playing in front of him!

  • Does anyone else think he might not get enough starts? He is more then capable of making up in other spots, but I can just see the media jumping all over a sub 60GP year.

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