March 23, 1988 |
Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
|National team||Czech Republic|
|NHL Draft||34th overall, 2006
Michal Neuvirth (//; born March 23, 1988) is a Czech professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). He previously played for the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). He was selected 34th overall in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted into the NHL by the Capitals, Neuvirth began a two-year major junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He began with the Plymouth Whalers in 2006–07 before being traded on November 13, 2007, to the Windsor Spitfires, along with defenceman Tom Kane and a fourth round draft pick in 2009 in exchange for defenceman Michal Jordan, goaltender Matt Hackett, a 2008 second round OHL draft pick and a third round pick in 2009. After spending less than half a season with the Spitfires, he was traded yet again on January 8, 2008, to the Oshawa Generals along with Ryan Baldwin for forward Justin Shugg, goaltender Jakub Kovář and second round picks in 2008 and 2011.
Neuvirth turned pro in 2008–09 with the South Carolina Stingrays, the Capitals' ECHL affiliate. During his short stint with the Stingrays, he was named to the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game for the American Conference. He was called up to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) during the season and, before long, received his first NHL call-up to the Capitals when starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov was sidelined due to injury. He made his NHL debut on February 14, 2009, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Making 31 saves, including a breakaway glove save on Vincent Lecavalier, Neuvirth backstopped the Capitals to a 5–1 victory for his first NHL win. He then played in his Capitals home debut on February 26 against the Atlanta Thrashers, recording another win with a 21-save effort. He finished the season appearing in five games total for the Capitals with a 2–1 record and 3.00 goals against average (GAA).
After being returned to the Bears, Neuvirth helped his team to the 2009 Calder Cup finals. He recorded a shutout in game three for the Bears to take a 2–1 series lead against the Manitoba Moose. Neuvirth then went on with the Hershey Bears to win the 2009 Calder Cup, earning MVP honors after his game 6 win. Neuvirth went 16–6 in the playoffs and finished the postseason with a 1.92 GAA, topping Frédéric Cassivi's previous AHL playoff best of 2.10 GAA.
After helping the Bears to the back to back Calder Cups in 2010, Neuvirth was named the starting goaltender of the Capitals' season opener on October 8 against Atlanta, in which he made 27 saves in a 4–2 loss. Neuvirth would go on to beat out Semyon Varlamov for the starting position for the entire season. Despite a solid season as Washington's starter and an adequate playoff performance, Washington would demote Neuvirth to backup goaltender status to make way for Tomáš Vokoun, trading away incumbent backup Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche in the process. Vokoun's run as Washington's starter only lasted one season, however, and he was injured before the playoffs began. Unfortunately for Neuvirth, he himself was also injured, allowing third goaltender Braden Holtby to start Game 1 of the first round series against the Boston Bruins. Even though Neuvirth managed to return to health in time for Game 3, Holtby went on to start for the duration of Washington's playoff run in 2012. In the off-season, Vokoun left to take the backup goaltender job with the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Capitals head coach Adam Oates then confirmed Holtby as the new starting goaltender of the Washington Capitals during training camp, but failed to rule out Neuvirth reclaiming the starters' role if he were to outplay Holtby.
- Played in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2009.
- Won the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 2009 & 2010.
- Won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as Calder Cup Playoff MVP in 2009.
- Named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October 2010.
- Calder Cup record; single-playoffs goals against average - 1.92 GAA (surpassed Frédéric Cassivi, 2.10 GAA)
|2008–09||South Carolina Stingrays||ECHL||13||6||7||0||762||29||2||2.28||.918||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||HC Sparta Praha||CZE||24||11||13||0||1342||55||1||2.46||.926||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- "Neuvirth named ECHL All-Star". January 2, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- The Canadian Press (February 14, 2009). "Green sets NHL record in Capitals' win over Lightning". TSN. Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "Bears blank Moose in Calder final". Toronto Star. June 7, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- "Michal Neuvirth". "PennLive.com". Retrieved June 16, 2009.
- "Sabres trade Halak to Capitals". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- "Capitals' Neuvirth named October Rookie of the Month" Retrieved February 21, 2011.