Bringing in the veteran Vokoun certainly changes the plan in terms of a workload for the goaltenders throughout the organization. When asked if Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth would have a genuine compeition for the top spot in Washington, though, Boudreau said the 35-year-old Czech’s experience all but pencils him into that role at this stage.
“We’re always going to play who we think is the best,” Boudreau said. “But if you’re looking at a guy that’s had the experience and done everything and if they’re a No. 1 goalie... You’ve got to give Vokoun the respect that he’s coming in and he’s going to be the No. 1 guy. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Boudreau, like many, dubbed the signing of Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million contract a coup for General Manager George McPhee and admitted he didn’t expect the addition, either.
But both Boudreau and new associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig said they believe the presence of Vokoun, and his more than 600 games of NHL experience, can only help the rest of Washington’s goaltending depth chart.
“The kids we have here are obviously very talented,” Kolzig said, “but there’s also something to be said for mentorship and having a guy like Tomas around and his experience and he’s a fantastic goalie.”
Said Boudreau: “He’s a top, elite goalie in the NHL and now I think we’ve got two really good goalies. Even though we had all the faith in the world — and we weren’t making it up -- with Braden and Michal. It gives a chance for Braden to play a little bit more before he’s thrown into the fire, so I think it works out well.”