The Washington Capitals may not have been the first choice for Tomas Vokoun, according to a rough translation from a Czech website. Vokoun stated in an interview with iSport.cz that while he didn’t find much interest from teams when free agency kicked off on July 1, he had reached out to the Detroit Red Wings before finalizing an agreement with the Capitals.
Vokoun on the lack of interest he drew on to start the off-season, and an indication that Detroit was very much in the picture:
“I was disappointed how the situation evolved. I did not get a single offer. No one! Then at the end came the Detroit and Washington. That was all.”
The interviewer then seeks some clarification on the mention of interest from Detroit, which Vokoun then intimates was actually himself reaching out to the team:
“No, no, I officially sent the offer, but I eventually agreed with Washington. Thus it was resolved.”
Did the Detroit Red Wings pass up on Vokoun in favour of Jimmy Howard/Joey MacDonald/Chris Osgood(?) in goal? Were the Capitals Vokoun’s second choice? It’s hard to say based on this interview alone, but you can’t really blame a 35-year old elite goaltender for having some interest in joining the Red Wings in the name of a shot a Stanley Cup.
Also of note is a comment that suggests some regret on the part of Vokoun when he mentions a three-year offer (presumably a more lucrative one than the deal he took in Washington) from the Florida Panthers, which he chose to turn down:
“I had a good offer for a three-year contract from Florida. But I wanted to go to a team where I was to show more interest. In Florida I did not feel it so much. Looking back, I made a mistake.”
To be fair, the mistake that Vokoun is referring to is likely the decision to walk away from a big dollar contract offer. He states throughout the interview that he wants to win a Cup with the Capitals and that he and fellow Czech Michal Neuvirth should make a great tandem.
The bottom line is this: Vokoun wanted to win and he evidently set his sights on a pair of teams that offered that opportunity. Ken Holland and the Red Wings were confident enough in Jimmy Howard as their number one goaltender that they didn’t feel adding Vokoun to the fold was necessary, apparently. We don’t know the details of what Vokoun could have been asking for from the Wings either, which could have been a factor on Detroit’s end. He obviously felt strong enough about his chances in Washington that he was willing to play for a discount there, so this isn’t something that should upset too many people in D.C.
Huge stick tap to Japers’ Rink for the find