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Blockbuster to Begin 2012 for Bears

by Marcel Cormier | January 1, 2012, 2:48 PM ET

"We think this is the piece to the puzzle we didn't have... and now we do," said GM Guy Flaming. He was referring to his team's latest acquisition, that of one of the SICHL's top netminders, Tomas Vokoun.

Vokoun was a free agent last summer and signed by the Toronto Titans to a rich $7.4M 1-year deal.

"We had talks with his agent in the summer but at the time, we were speaking with a few free agent goaltenders and Tomas signed with Toronto before our other negotiations went sideways," confirmed Flaming. "We knew that starting the season as we were, that there could be some tough nights. But Devan [Dubnyk] did his best, we know we could count on Johan [Hedberg] to do the same, but upgrading that position has been a priority of mine all year."

The aquisition of Vokoun doesn't come cheap. The Golden Bears have sent 8 players to the Titans in exchange for what could be just two-thirds of a season of Vokoun's services. The veteran is schedule to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season but it would stand to reason that the Bears will make him their franchise player to keep his rights.

The trade was announced yesterday by the league offices and breaks down like this:

To Titans : Gabriel Bourque, Ryan Thang, Phillippe Cornet, Jon Matsumoto, Devan Dubnyk, Byron Froese, Ethan Werek, Brandon Maxwell To Bears : Tomas Vokoun, TOR 2 (2012)

Acadia gave up some farm depth, a couple of decent forward prospects, a prospect goaltender and also Dubnyk who Flaming says was essential to the deal.

"When I spoke with Derrick, I originally gave him two separate proposals and quite honestly, he chose the one I didn't expect," said Flaming, "But he told me that it was because Devan was part of it and from Toronto's perspective, I can understand why. I like Devan and I think he can have a long career in the SICHL."

But adding Vokoun certainly made him expendable for Acadia, especially considering the continuing development of Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Allen York and other netminders in the system.

Vokoun has joined team as they prepare to face the Amsterdam Admirals on New Year's Day but it is unlikely that he'll start the game after travelling through the night. It's fitting that the Admirals are in town as goalie Jimmy Howard was the last goaltender Flaming expected to lean on before he signed an lucrative offer sheet.

For sure, Vokoun is Acadia's best goalie since 2009-10 with Tim Thomas. But will it be enough for the Bears to climb back into the playoff picture?

"That's the plan but if it turns out I need to tinker more... I am willing to do that," said Flaming, "It isn't 2011 anymore, we're here to win."

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