It’s not as if Tomas Vokoun doesn’t come with some baggage at this point. He’ll turn 36 on July 2 and his 2011-12 campaign ended due to a significant groin injury. He’s leaving Washington because they’re comfortable going into next season with Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.
So it’s entirely possible that Vokoun wasn’t in line for a big payday as an unrestricted free agent, but if all he wanted to do was maximize his playing time, he could have probably found a better option than signing a two-year/$4 million deal with Pittsburgh.
The goaltending market is thin – more so now that the possibility of Tim Thomas being traded to fill a team’s void in net has been erased – and there are quite a few teams that could use a veteran goaltender. He could have signed with a team where he would have at least gotten a better shot to compete for the starting gig.
“I would love to win the Stanley Cup. I’ve been playing for a long time and I haven’t had a chance to do that,” Vokoun said. “For me, I think I could be useful in many situations. Whatever they’re going to need me to do, I’m going to try and do the best I can to help the team be successful.”
The chance at winning a Cup is a powerful incentive. It can lead veterans to take less money and accept smaller roles just to be a part of a promising team. In the salary cap era, reputation is a powerful currency.