Martin Brodeur has been one of the best goalies of our time, Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas and others are among the top performers, but how much of the success of these three owes to the fact they play in hockey hotbeds and for teams that have been historicly successful with other superstars around them, and systems that help them win (IE the trap for the Devils). Compare them to Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers who goes largely unnoticed due to playing in the Sunshine State.
Vokoun has been one of the best goalies over the last dozen years. He’s in the top 10 in many goaltending categories, including saves and save percentage, but you would never know it because the team in front of him has had just as much trouble putting pucks in the net as those trying to score against him.
In 600 career games Vokoun is W252-L251 with about 70 ties and/or overtime losses. He currently hold a .921% save percentage and hasn’t gone below .919% since 2004 with the Predators. Yet, despite the illustrious numbers, his record over the two seasons sits at 49-51-17. Most of this is due to the team around him, they have failed to help him score goals…and that’s the one thing he can’t do himself. Vokoun is however entirely capable of playing at an elite level and help his Panthers climb the ranks in the Eastern Conference.
One thing that seems to be floated quite a bit among Florida Panthers fans is the differences between Tomas Vokoun and former Panthers superstar Roberto Luongo. It seems that most people feel that Vokoun is less of a goal tender and that the Panthers would be playing better with Luongo. I disagree however and would like to take a moment to explore the subject. Vokoun is one of the best goaltenders in the league since the lockout.
SV% Leaders Since Lockout
This is while playing behind some of the worst defenses in terms of SA over the course of the last five seasons.
When you do the math Luongo only has 30 more career wins and 37 more games played than Vokoun.
My point is this…Vokoun is one of the best players in world. At 34 years of age, Vokoun is entering a stage in his career where his skills will start to fall off. Unfortunately he’s had a good career in bad hockey markets. I hope that the Panther try to resign him and let him lead us to victory, but as the Panthers try to get younger, there’s a chance Vokoun will be dealt to another club during the season, possibly giving him a chance win a Stanley Cup near the twilight of his career. If that’s the case, Vokoun will definitely make the most of it.
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