As the July 1 date for the opening of free agency approaches, it's looking like there will be at least one upper-echelon goaltender available.
Tomas Vokoun has yet to sign an extension with the Florida Panthers, and seems certain to test the waters. His agent, Michael C. Deutsch, told ESPN.com on Saturday that, "at this point it looks like he'll hit the open market ... [Vokoun]'s keeping all his options open, including going back to Florida."
Panthers GM Dale Tallon is non-committal at this point as to which direction the team is going to go with Vokoun. The goaltender situation in Florida has Scott Clemmensen as Vokoun's backup and very promising Swede Jacob Markstrom among other prospects in the system. With a team undergoing a youth movement, the veteran and expensive Vokoun might not be the best fit.
Vokoun was quoted in a Czech newspaper as being interested in going to Colorado, which has an opening in net right now, but Deutsch denied Vokoun ever said a thing to the paper. That still doesn't mean the Avs wouldn't be in play.
Before the Flyers traded for the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov, the big question was which of the two goalies would they chase in free agency. At this point, Philly hasn't reached a deal with Bryzgalov, so it's still possible that if things don't work out between the two, Vokoun and Philadelphia could come together.
Vokoun has played the last four seasons in Florida after spending eight years in Nashville. Playing in front of a poor team, Vokoun had a 22-28-5 record for the Panthers last season while posting a very respectable .922 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average.
-- Brian Stubits