I was never particularly hard on the #SignVokoun bandwagon before July 1st hit. Tomas Vokoun is a heck of a goaltender, don't get me wrong. In his long career he's piled up a rookie of the year award, two all star game appearances and an all time 2.55 GAA and .917 SV%. He's done it on some pretty mediocre teams as well, playing in Florida and Nashville for so long. Vokoun is a heck of a veteran goalkeeper.
That's the problem though, he's a veteran to the point of becoming labeled as old now. The guy turned 35 yesterday - happy birthday Tomas! - and got a nice 1.5 million dollar birthday present as he was signed to the Washington Capitals, who the day before had sent over Semyon Varlamov to our Colorado Avalanche for a first and conditional second round pick in next year's draft. If you think 1.5 million dollars is cheap for a guy with those statistics, you would be right. Even with his advanced ago, 1.5 is a steal, why on earth did he wind up going for such a cheap price and why didn't the Avs pick him up for that tag?! (I'm pretty sure most of you know the answer but there were people actually asking these questions after the deal went down.)
Don't be fooled though, he probably did it to himself. There were a bunch of teams rumored on the 1st to be looking at Vokoun. Florida was an option to bring him back into the fray, Phoenix needed a new keeper since Ilya Bryzgalov bailed to Philadelphia and of course the Colorado Avalanche were the only team in the league that had exactly zero keepers signed to the big league level when free agency began. Teams like the Lightning were rumored to have use for him as well. Yet, none of those teams went for him. Look at the keepers who replaced him as well. Mike Smith in Phoenix? Jose Theodore in Florida? Obviously our Avs went for the younger option with Varlamov. Tampa re-signed Dwayne Roloson. Those aren't bad goalkeepers for sure - although Smith raised a few eyebrows - but none of them are Tomas Vokoun.
Well, it was most likely the money issue that kept those teams from knocking. The Avalanche especially were rumored to be asking the guy for a look at Colorado. I'm not completely sure about his intent on joining 'a contender' but you can sure as hell bet that the guy was looking for a massive paycheck out of the deal. I think we can look at what Bryz picked up from the Flyers deal as a good indication of what Tomas was probably asking for. The Bryz got a nine year, 51 million dollar contract, or about 5.6 mill a year. Ilya's stats are very similar to Vokouns, and his being younger allowed the Flyers to front-load a really long contract for him. If someone was going to pay Vokoun it would have to be a much shorter contract worth even more money, probably 6 mill a year minimum.
Obviously, none of the teams wanted to pay him 6-7 million per year, but instead of taking the hint he kept on trucking and wound up signing a desperation deal with the Capitals near the end of the second day of free agency. Not a bad deal for him considering he apparently wanted to be on a contender, but still a blow to the poor guy's pay-check.
In the end though, I think that Vokoun's terrible money management skills are the Avalanches gain.
I think Varly is a better option for the Avalanche with the way that they've been making their team. He's proven at the very least in the playoffs - although he still needs to earn some more regular season experience - and is only 23 with at the very least 10 more years of hockey ahead of him assuming of course he doesn't get horrifically injured. Vokoun would probably have been nothing more than a stop gap to the Avalanche's young squad slowly working themselves up to Stanley Cup caliber play, and for a hell of a lot more money than Varly was. Having Varlamov be part of that young core that will grow into a contender together makes perfect sense, though the price to get him may have been a little higher than some of us were hoping.