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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Quality of play isn't a question mark for Vokoun, but age and workload might be heading into the 2013-14 campaign. The 37-year-old went 13-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts in the regular season. He then helped to save Pittsburgh from an early first-round playoff exit, relieving an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in Round 1 and then leading his team to the Eastern Conference finals. Vokoun probably can't handle more than a 55-game workload anymore and there are no guarantees that Fleury doesn't continue his regular-season prowess and leave 30 or so games for Vokoun. The Czech's numbers are still quality-filled, but the quantity remains in question.
Vokoun, who inked a two-year deal with Pittsburgh, has not been assigned as a set backup for starter Marc-Andre Fleury. He's expected to see more ice time than a typical Pittsburgh backup goalie, but just how much depends, in large part, on how well Fleury plays in front of him. For the majority of his 14 NHL seasons, Vokoun has played on mediocre teams in Nashville and Florida. As a result, he's had fairly poor goals-against averages with strong save percentage marks, finishing with a sub 2.40 GAA only once. His career .917 save percentage is better than six of eight seasons by Fleury, however. How Vokoun does in 2012-13 is a great variable. If he was younger than 36 and had less mileage on him, then it would be easier to see the upside he offers. Still, 20 wins or so seems reasonable for Vokoun while playing in front of a strong Penguins squad.
Vokoun was signed as a free agent and will be competing for the starting gig along with Michal Neuvirth when camp comes around. We're not sure anyone anticipated a signing like this, based on all of the young goalies that the organization was so high on. Vokoun is a great goalie, though, and will provide veteran leadership along with the talent he brings with him. He has a career 2.56 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. Look at him as a potential steal on draft day, especially if he wins the starting job outright instead of working in a timeshare.
Being a puck-stopper for a losing team is the most significant reason to downgrade Vokoun in fantasy leagues. Suffice it to say, if more wins came his way, he would be among the league's elite. On a positive note, Vokoun usually boasts a strong save percentage (.923 over the past three seasons). Further, you can expect Vokoun to get the lion's share of the work since the Panthers lack a quality netminder behind him.
Much was made of Vokoun's supposed fall from grace last season, when Craig Anderson stole a bunch of starts from the Panthers' highest-paid player. But by the end of the year, Vokoun had still appeared in nearly 60 games, had a tidy 2.49 goals-against average and netted 26 wins. Not shabby, and certainly a reasonable minimum expectation for the new campaign.
The team’s undisputed MVP from a season ago managed to post 30 wins, 2.68 goals-against average and .919 save percentage (that’s more than 2,000 saves) for a team that finished five games under .500. Fantasy owners have been routinely bumping Vokoun down draft lists because of the team he plays for, but the numbers speak for themselves. At age 32, he’s in the prime of his career, and Florida’s prospects in the crease are nowhere near a level where they can threaten to put a dent in Vokoun’s playing time.
A left thumb injury hampered Vokoun’s 2006-07 season, though he still posted 27 wins and five shutouts in just 44 games with Nashville. The big question will be how his value is affected by the switch to Florida, a team not nearly in the same class as last year’s Preds. That stigma will probably deflate some of Vokoun’s value come draft time, but don’t be fooled into thinking this guy has become a second-rate goalie. For starters, Vokoun’s backup will be relatively-unproven Craig Anderson, which means it’s fairly likely Vokoun will start at least 60 games for the Panthers. Also consider the numbers Ed Belfour put up as Florida’s de facto starter last season — a 27-17-10 record, sub-3 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. Sure, that’s nothing to write home about, but then consider how much better a goalie Vokoun is. The team may not be a powerhouse, but the defense has improved every season under the conservative Jacques Martin. Don’t be surprised if Vokoun retains much of his fantasy value.
Now that Vokoun’s blood-clot scare seems to be over, the talented goalie can concentrate on posting more solid numbers between the pipes for the Predators. Last season Vokoun notched career-best numbers for wins (36), saves (1,824), save percentage (.919) and shutouts (4). He will be challenged to equal these numbers in 2006-07. The defense corps in front him will be relatively young and inexperienced but filled with talent. Given all these factors we expect Vokoun to be very solid again in wins, saves and save percentage, but like last season the defense in front of Vokoun will ultimately decide how good his GAA and shutout numbers are.
Vokoun's numbers slipped a bit in 2003-04 (29 wins, 2.53 GAA, .909 save percentage) after his breakout campaign the year before. He's still unquestionably the Preds' #1 netminder though, and with an improved team in front of him could return to his 2002-03 form. Only 29 and without any obvious heir apparent in the system, Vokoun is a very solid player to have in keeper leagues that start two goalies.