Tomas Vokoun signs with Caps for $4.166 million less than Ilya Bryzgalov

NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 25: Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers looks at the crowd during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 25 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

As the first day of free agency wore on Friday afternoon, it quickly became evident that Tomas Vokoun wasn't going to get a lot of money. Hell, it became evident that he wasn't going to get a lot of money hours and perhaps days before the free agent market opened. 

Ilya Bryzgalov was already off the market for nine years with a mega deal from the Flyers a week prior and Tampa re-upped Dwayne Roloson before the UFA market opened. Colorado took care of their situation on July 1 by signing Jean-Sebastien Giguere and trading for Seymon Varlamov, and the Coyotes took care of their void with former Lightning backup Mike Smith.

And on Saturday night, Vokoun signed a one year deal worth $1.5 million to play goal in the Nation's Capital. And hey, why not? Nobody else wanted him -- arguably the best goaltender on the market this year.

You know where we're going with this already, but let's compare salaries, via CapGeek.com. 

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov J-S Giguere Tomas Vokoun Seymon Varlamov Mike Smith Dwayne Roloson
Age 31 34 35 23 29 41
EV SV% 0.931 0.910 0.919 0.930 0.900 0.924
2011-12 $5,666,667 $1,250,000 $1,500,000 $2,833,333 $2,000,000 $3,000,000
2012-13 $5,666,667 $1,250,000 UFA $2,833,333 $2,000,000 UFA
2013-14 $5,666,667 UFA
$2,833,333 UFA
2014-15 $5,666,667
UFA
2015-16 $5,666,667
2016-17 $5,666,667
2017-18 $5,666,667
2018-19 $5,666,667
2019-20 $5,666,667
2020-21 UFA

(True story: I had to switch from a horizontal table to a vertical table because Bryzgalov's contract is so long, it wouldn't have fit on the page without stretching things out of proportion.)

Something stands out, and it's not good for the Flyers. We're not saying the Flyers shouldn't have gotten a goaltender (although we still believe Bob was a fine option), but a little patience in a goalie market that wasn't all that competitive would have been ideal. 

Yes, Bryzgalov had the best even strength save percentage of the bunch. Yes, he's younger than Vokoun.

But this isn't necessarily even hindsight: If Bryzgalov hits unrestricted free agency, there's a chance he could have gone elsewhere, but the July 1 market clearly benefited the team, not the goalies. Bryzgalov would not have gotten $5.66 million a year (especially not for NINE YEARS) on the open market.

And we could have predicted that from a mile away. We definitely could have figured it out a week ago. It's simple: Six goalies, how many teams looking for goalies? Not more than six. Buyers market. 

Could we have seen such a low number for Vokoun? No, not that low. But a number less than Bryzgalov? Much less than Bryzgalov? Yes. A thousand times yes. 

The one team that opted out of that market wound up getting the worst of the deals, and again, that could have been expected -- not to mention that they had to completely re-shape their championship caliber team to make it happen. Hell, they have a history of this, completely misjudging the UFA goalie market a year ago by giving Michael Leighton a bad contract before free agency opened.

This is what happens when you overreact, Uncle Ed. George McPhee showed a little patience and now, the Caps are the clear-cut favorites in the Eastern Conference and perhaps even the league.

The Flyers? Well, who knows? We need name tags, thanks to a massive team-altering contract that wasn't necessary. 

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