NEW YORK/TORONTO – Former Wheeling and current Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun was named the Defensive Player of the Week by the National Hockey League on Monday. It is the seventh time that a former ECHL player has won the award and Vokoun (Dec. 5 and Mar. 20) joins former Richmond goaltender Manny Legace (Nov. 1 and Feb. 13) as a two-time winner.
The 29-year-old had two shutouts while leading the Predators to three wins with a goals against of 1.34 and a save percentage of .951. After posting back-to-back shutouts, making 31 saves in a 5-0 win against Vancouver on Mar. 14 and 24 saves in a 2-0 victory against Phoenix on Mar. 16, Vokoun had 23 saves in a 9-4 win against Calgary on Mar. 18.
He is 34-14-7 with four shutouts, a goals against of 2.52 and a save percentage of .922 in 55 games, helping the Predators to second place in the Central Division and fourth place in the Western Conference with a 41-19-8 record and 90 points.
Selected by Nashville from Montreal in the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft, Vokoun was 20-10-2 and ranked 18th in the ECHL with a 3.67 goals-against average in 35 regular season games for Wheeling in 1995-96. He ranked third in the ECHL with a 2.61 goals-against average while going 4-2-1 with a .903 save percentage in seven postseason games for Wheeling.
There have been 299 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL, including 43 this season who have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there are more than 100 players on ECHL rosters under contract to teams in the NHL.
Chris Holt (Charlotte and New York Rangers), Mike Morrison (Greenville and Edmonton), Mike Dunham (Gwinnett and Atlanta), Adam Berkhoel (Gwinnett and Atlanta) and Rob McVicar (Victoria and Vancouver) have all played in both the ECHL and the NHL this season. Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Maxime Daigneault (South Carolina and Washington), Mike Wall (Augusta and Anaheim), Andrew Penner (Dayton and Columbus) and Frederic Cloutier (Pensacola and New York Islanders) have all played in the ECHL and served as backup goaltenders in the NHL this year.