Formerly Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who was once considered as a possible Goalie of the Future and who most recently played with the Philadelphia Flyers, has reportedly signed a Professional Tryout Offer with the Toronto Maple Leafs, per Bill Meltzer of the Flyers’ website.
Neuvirth is expected to compete for a spot as the team’s backup goalie. While he has recently been working out with Sparta Prague in the Czech League, his goal is to play in the NHL and told reporters he was planning to fly overseas.
“I definitely want to go back to the NHL. I’ve been dealing with a couple of teams, and we’ve agreed with Toronto, so I’m going to try out with the Maple Leafs,” said Neuvirth, who is currently a free agent after playing the last three seasons with the Flyers, including the last two on a two-year deal. The 2018-19 season was an injury-plagued season for the former second-round pick, as he was limited to just seven games for the Flyers (and one game with their American Hockey League affiliate in Lehigh Valley), recording a save percentage of .859 and goals-against average of 4.26, which were far off his career norms.
“It’s a big challenge for me”, Nuevirth added, “When they called me from Toronto, I let go of all the other teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs – that’s an honor. Like Sparta here in the Czech Republic, such a Real Madrid in hockey about it.”
Neuvirth made his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals on February 14, 2009, having been drafted by the team in the second-round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and played in five games that season. He played in 17 games for the Capitals during the 2009-10 season and served as the primary goalie for the [Capitals’ AHL affiliate] Hershey Bears during their Calder Cup Championship runs in 2009 and 2010, being named playoff MVP in 2009.
He became a full-time NHL player starting the 2010-11 season and was the primary starting goalie for the Caps that season. In 2012, he was injured after stepping on a puck during warm-ups, which allowed Braden Holtby to start the game and led to Holtby being the starter in the playoffs.
Neuvirth was traded to the Buffalo Sabres during the 2013-14 season. He then signed with the Flyers during the 2014 offseason and played with them through 2018-19. After his short season this past season, and the emergence of young goaltender Carter Hart, the Flyers opted not to re-sign Neuvirth.
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