28-Year-Old Goalie – Philadelphia Flyers
Michal Neuvirth Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $3.25 million contract with the Flyers in July 2015.
Neuvirth denied 28 of 29 shots Sunday against the Capitals, but the lone goal allowed proved to be the dagger with Washington winning the series in six games.
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Michal Neuvirth: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After escaping fantasy purgatory in Buffalo prior to last season's trade deadline, Neuvirth was expected to push the up-and-down Jaroslav Halak for starting duty, but the 27-year-old never presented himself as much of a threat. In five starts with the Islanders, Neuvirth went 1-3-1 with a 2.94 GAA and .881 save percentage, with the latter figure lagging significantly behind the .918 mark he posted in Buffalo, where he had a far worse defense in front of him. Those struggles prompted the Isles to let him walk in free agency during the offseason, and Neuvirth quickly latched on with the Flyers on a two-year contract. Now the clear backup for starting goaltender Steve Mason, Neuvirth doesn't seem likely to play much more than 25 or 30 games in his first season with Philadelphia. Like last year's backup, Ray Emery, Neuvirth figures to see his win total benefit from the halo effect of a high-powered Flyers offense, but his ratios will probably leave much to be desired when he takes the ice.
The Capitals gave up on Neuvirth after the 26-year-old Czech netminder had trouble wresting the starting job from the struggling Braden Holtby last season. Though it was a small sample size, Neuvirth turned in solid performances in his two games with the Sabres, saving 93 of 98 shots before suffering a season-ending hip injury. Like in Washington, Neuvirth will have to battle all season for the starting job, and will also be further motivated by the promise of a new contract this summer. Even if he ends up beating out Jhonas Enroth for the No. 1 gig, Neuvirth’s upside could be limited considering the Sabres will support him with one of the NHL’s worst rosters.
Neuvirth was number one on the depth chart to start last season but lost the gig in February after some dismal starts. He goes into the season as the entrenched number two, having been extended by the Caps in April 2013. He will get spot starts as Braden Holtby’s backup.
Neuvirth was the heir apparent at the midpoint last year but injuries and inconsistent results led to Braden Holtby getting more chances for the Caps as the season ended. Neuvirth did play in 38 games however, notching a .903 save percentage and was 13-13 in 2011-2012 and looks to be giving way to Holtby next season. A new coach is in Washington however, and Neuvirth has the potential at 24-years old to elevate his game. Managers will want to keep an eye on the goalie situation in Washington as draft day approaches, but Holtby appears to have the inside track over Neuvirth.
Neuvirth carried the load last season and really put the team on his back when the Caps were struggling to learn the new defensive style. With the recent acquisition of veteran netminder Tomas Vokoun, Neuvirth will have a serious battle for the top job this season. His career stats at the young age of 23 are quite impressive. He is 38-17-0-4, has a 2.55 goals against average, .914 save percentage, and four shutouts. Either way things turn out, Neuvie will be seeing a decent amount of starts this season, though with Vokoun around that will very likely drop from the 45 of last season.
Neuvirth has put in time the last two years and showed he has the ability to play at the NHL level. He mainly filled in after Semyon Varlamov was held out for months due to lingering injuries. Despite Jose Theodore getting most of the starts and having his best season, Neuvirth impressed when he got the chance. He went 9-4-0 with a 2.75 GAA and .914 save percentage. After Thedore was not re-signed after the season, it became apparent it is Varlamov and Neuvirth’s team. Which one will start is unknown, but Neuvirth will be a great secondary goaltender with a chance to collect time behind of the league's elite teams.
Neuvirth has become one of the three goalie's in the conversation to make a roster spot, but may be the odd man out this season. He played in five games for the Caps last year with a 2-1-0 record (starting only 3 games). The organization has so much depth between the pipes and this kid is right in the mix. More than likely he will begin the year in AHL Hershey, but do not be surprised if he sees some time again this year, and he will be waiting in the wings if needed.
Neuvirth, the Caps' 2006 second-round pick, was stellar in the OHL last season. Though he remains behind 2006 first-rounder Simeon Varlamov on the Caps' organizational depth at goalie, he's outperformed Varlamov on the international stage and will continue to compete with him for the right to take over for Olaf Kolzig in a couple years.
Neuvirth was the Czech Republic's top goaltender at the 2006 World under-18 tournament in Sweden but he may very well lack the skills to become a top netminder in the NHL. He provides the Capitals with depth at a very thin position.