Friday, June 01, 2007

'Virth The Wait?

Fresh off an eye-opening Memorial Cup run, the Caps have signed goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a three-year entry-level contract.

From the team's press release on the signing:
Neuvirth, 19, was a second-round selection of the Capitals, 34th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’1”, 197-pound, left-handed catching goaltender spent this past season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) were he was named the OHL’s All-Star Second Team Goaltender and was runner-up for the OHL Goaltender of the Year Award.

The Usti Labem, Czech Republic, native finished the regular season with a 26-8-2-2 record, which included four shootouts. His goals-against average was 2.32 and he notched a .932 save percentage. Neuvirth set the longest shutout streak in franchise history from Dec. 28, 2006, to Jan. 6, 2007, by not allowing a goal in 164:18.

Neuvirth carded an impressive 14-3-1 playoff record, which included an OHL championship and a spot in the Memorial Cup semifinals. His playoff GAA was 2.45 and his .932 save percentage equaled his season output. Prior to suiting up in the OHL, Neuvirth led the Czech Republic to a bronze medal at the 2006 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, posting a 3-1-2 record.

The Capitals expect Neuvirth to be in attendance at the team’s summer development camp, July 11-14 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.
UPDATE: Link to the release at WashingtonCaps.com

7 comments:

Tyler said...

So where does he play in the fall? ECHL? A European league?

JP said...

I'd think ECHL.

Tyler said...

At the risk of asking a stupid question: How good a place is the ECHL for a 19-yo netminder? Isn't the recent track record of goalies coming over from European leagues --> AHL/NHL stronger? (I have no idea, just guessing.)

JP said...

I'll let others more knowledgeable than I speak further to this, but Neuvirth did play in the OHL this year, so it's not like he's hopping on a boat to Ellis Island next week.

Tyler said...

That's true, but the ECHL is, well, the OHL with brawlers.

exwhaler said...

I think it'll depend on what the Caps do with Maxime D. I've never been impressed with him, and with the Caps obviously high on Neuvirth, they may want to ease him in playing behind Cassivi in Hershey.

JP said...

I'd be surprised if Neuvirth was ready for regular AHL duty, even as a backup. I wouldn't rule it out, but still expect him to spend most of the year in the E.