When Tomas Vokoun turned down what was believed to be a three-year, 8 million offer to remain with the Florida Panthers, he did so knowing the financial risks.
A few days later he learned what they were.
Hoping to cash in on a more lucrative offer, Vokoun was approached by just two other NHL teams the Capitals and Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings wanted Vokoun as a backup to Jimmy Howard. The Caps wanted him as their starter.
For several reasons, including the proximity between Washington and his family in southern Florida, Vokoun signed a one-year, 1.5 million contract with the Capitals, who will face the Red Wings Saturday night at the Verizon Center.
Nobody else had interest, said Vokoun, who is a perfect 5-0-0 this season. Twenty-seven other teams could have signed me. Its more about me proving Im a good goalie.
With Howard scheduled to start for the Red Wings Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vokoun and the Capitals are expected to face Ty Conklin, who earned a shutout in his only other start this season.
Vokoun lit a bit of a fire under the Red Wings back on Sept. 6 when he said he believed the Caps were closer to winning a Stanley Cup than the Red Wings.
Theyre comparable teams, but Detroit has won the Stanley Cup three times actually, four since 1997 and Washington has never won it, Vokoun said at the time. I think thats a lot better challenge for me and for the team to do something special.
Looking back, Vokoun said he could have made more money staying in Florida but has no regrets with his decision.
Its a free market and I believe in free markets, he said. Thats why I like living in the U.S. It didnt work out for me in a sense because I didnt get what I was expecting. But its a free market and I can live with it. I never had a chance to be a free agent. I always signed contracts before they expired and I thought, Im 35, why not try one?
In a sense I got burned a little bit, but thats life. What are you gonna do?