2011-12 Year-End Review: Michal Neuvirth

Photo credit: Nam Y. Hun

Michal Neuvirth is the most patient goaltender in the world.

He had every reason to believe that he would be the starting goalie this year, and there was a slight hiccup in that plan when the team brought in veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun. Disappointing, of course, but Neuvirth didn’t pitch a fit about it, he just put his head down and tried to work harder. Neuvirth struggled this year, but when Vokoun struggled as well, Neuvirth was always there to step in.

Cap Hit: $1.15 M. Neuvirth is signed through 2012-13, and will be RFA on expiration of that contract.

Milestones: Neuvirth got his very own bobblehead this year!  He also assisted on an Ovechkin goal in March for the first point of his NHL career.

Best Moment: His brilliant save on Carl Gunnarsson in a February game against the Leafs, or his fantastic shutout of the Habs after sitting for nearly a month.

Worst Moment: Fluke goals plagued the Caps’ netminders all year, and Neuvirth perhaps got the worst of the possessed-puck moments. First, he allowed a goal from 88 feet in a Panthers game, and then there was that Matt Moulson shot that bounced off his stomach into the net.

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

First Irrelevant Google Images Result: Star Wars Monopoly.

Media Consensus: “This is a step back.”

Spirit Animal: A beagle.

Alternate Universe Superhero Identity: Hello Neuvy

Team Role: Before July 1, 2011, Neuvirth was expected to be the starting goalie. After July 1, 2011, Neuvirth was expected to back up Tomas Vokoun and compete with him for the starting position.

Execution of that Role: Neuvirth had a rough year, but you can say that about just about any Capital. His year-ending SV% of .903 was very disappointing, but hopefully he’s worked through the learning curve and ready to challenge for starting goaltender next year. It’s not as if he hasn’t been in this position before.

Postseason Performance: Neuvirth was injured in the second to last game of the regular season when former teammate Marco Sturm fell on his leg and was not able to play in the postseason, though by the second round he was well enough to back up Braden Holtby.

Beard Rating:  Error 404. There are no existing pictures of Neuvirth’s facial hair this postseason.

Likeliness to Return: Nine out of ten. We’re trying the Neuvirth-Holtby tandem again, and unless Olaf Kolzig decides to come out of retirement, I can’t imagine there will be any surprises this time around.

Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Neuvirth is quiet, patient, and mentally resilient — he’s the guy you could get stuck in an underground bunker with for a year and still not hate. Six out of ten.

Overall Year-End Rating: Five Good Sashas.

For statistical analysis of Neuvirth’s season, see Japers’ Rink or Peerless Prognosticator.

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  • Here are Mikey’s SV%s by season:

    .892, .914, .914, .903

    (Source: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/n/neuvimi01.html)

    .914 is considered NHL average. So… it seems Mikey’s true talent is either at or below NHL average.

    I like the guy, but I really doubt he is truly The Guy.

  • serpent

    Yeah, I like the idea that he is on our side,too. He’s not Quick, not Smith or Henrik but he is ours! The beagle is so Neuvy,too.

  • brian!

    In the interest of playing Devil’s Advocate, 4 seasons seems like a small sample size to draw from.

  • Peter

    Nearly 3k shots. I think it’s a good sample.

  • He’s better than people say he is…..

  • Anonymous

    Martin Brodeur’s first 4 seasons in the NHL:
    .882, .915, .902, .911

  • A) Brodeur is a notoriously average goaltender.
    B) 91-95 was a drastically different era of offensive hockey.
    C) That first season was 4 games long.
    D) He was .910 over those first 4 seasons. His lifetime is just .003 higher.