Michal Neuvirth
Image: NHL

Michal Neuvirth


Usti Nad Labem Czech Republic

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Trade with Buffalo, 2015


199 lbs.

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2003-04: Michal Neuvirth appeared in 55 games for Sparta Praha in the Czech U-18 League. He had five shutouts and posted a GAA of 1.84 with a .938 save percentage. In three playoff games, he allowed 4.33 GAA with a .880 save percentage.

2004-05: Neuvirth split the season between Sparta Praha’s U-18 and U-20 tournament. In ten games with the U-20 squad, he posted 1 shutout and had a 2.40 GAA with a .921 save percentage. At the U-18 level, he allowed 2.50 GAA with a .924 save percentage and had 3 shutouts. He also played for the U-18 team in the playoffs and in eight games posted a 2.12 GAA with a .939 save percentage. Neuvirth played for the Czech Republic at the World U-17 Junior Challenge and in five games had a 3.69 GAA with a .899 save percentage.

2005-06: Neuvirth had a strong season as the full-time starter for the Sparta Praha U-20 team. In 42 games, he allowed less than two goals per game (1.96 GAA) with a .938 save percentage with 5 shutouts. In three playoff contests, he had a 3.02 GAA with a .890 save percentage. Neuvirth represented the Czech Republic in the 2006 WJC U-18 tournament and appeared in 6 of 7 games; including a 4-1 win over Canada in the bronze medal game. Neuvirth finished with a 4-1 record, including his 35-save effort against Canada and a 29-save, 3-0 shutout win over Sweden, and posted a 2.44 GAA and .927 save percentage. After being drafted by the Washington Capitals in the second round, 34th overall, of the 2006 NHL Draft, Neuvirth was selected in the first round (27th overall) of the CHL Import Draft by the OHL Plymouth Whalers.

2006-07: Neuvirth shared the Plymouth Whalers’ goaltending duties with Nashville product Jeremy Smith in his first season in North America. After an inauspicious start to his junior career (Neuvirth allowed 5 goals on twelve shots in 23 minutes and was pulled in an eventual 7-2 loss to Sarnia on September 22), Neuvirth bounced back to win 4 of his next 5 starts. After losing three straight starts early in November, Neuvirth won 22 of 27 starts and did not lose back-to-back games for the rest of the season. Overall, he finished 26-8 including 4 shutouts with four overtime losses and his 2.32 GAA and .932 save percentage were both tops in the league. He and Smith shared the OHL’s Dave Pinkney Trophy that goes to the top goaltending team. In the playoffs, Neuvirth started all but two of 20 games as the Whalers defeated Guelph, Kitchener and London to reach the OHL finals and then defeated Sudbury in a six-game OHL final series that included three overtime games. Neuvirth was 14-4 in the OHL playoffs with a 2.45 GAA and .932 save percentage. In five Memorial Cup games, Neuvirth was 2-2 with an overtime loss to eventual Memorial Cup champion Vancouver in the Whalers’ first game. He finished the tournament with a 3.02 GAA and .902 save percentage.

2007-08: Neuvirth spent the season roaming around the OHL, as he ended up playing for three different clubs. He opened the season with Plymouth but the Whalers were forced to reduce the number of overage players and he was traded to Windsor. After starting eight games with the Spitfires, he was dealt to Oshawa in a trade deadline move. In ten games with Plymouth, Neuvirth was 5-4 with one overtime loss including wins in his final three starts before the trade. He won his first four starts with Windsor (giving him seven wins in a row) and was 6-1 with one overtime loss with the Spitfires. Neuvirth won back-to-back games in his first two starts with Oshawa and was 15-6-2 with the Generals with 6 overtime losses despite missing time to injury. Neuvirth recorded 50 or more saves in four games for the Generals – all of which went to overtime. He stopped a season-high 55 shots in a 5-4 shootout loss to Kingston on Mar. 7. Overall, Neuvirth was a combined 17-7 with 8 overtime losses and had a 3.12 GAA and .911 save percentage in 33 games. He played nine playoff games for Oshawa and posted a 7-2-0 record before suffering a season-ending injury. Neuvirth won his first five starts, leading the Generals to a first-round sweep of Ottawa. He made 46 saves in a 2-1 win at Ottawa on Mar. 25. For the playoffs, he had a .932 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA. Neuvirth represented the Czech Republic in the WJC U-20 tournament and was 2-2 with a 2.50 GAA and .910 save percentage as his team finished fifth.

2008-09: As was the case in his final junior season, Neuvirth played for three different teams in his first pro season. Fortunately, all three clubs were within the Capitals organization and it was a much more positive experience – including his first NHL action and an AHL championship. Neuvirth made his NHL debut with the Capitals on February 14 and got a win in his first start, 5-1, over the Lightning. His second win in as many starts came 12 days later in a 4-3 win over Atlanta and he started one other game, a 5-2 loss to Carolina on March 3, as well as making two other relief appearances. In five games with the Capitals, he was 2-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .892 save percentage. After beginning the year with South Carolina in the ECHL, Neuvirth was promoted to AHL Hershey after Christmas and had an outstanding second half for the Bears – especially in the AHL playoffs. After a loss to Binghamton in his first AHL start on December 27, he recorded 24 saves in a 5-3 win over Albany the next night. Down the stretch, he won five of six starts beginning March 22 to close the season on a roll. In 17 regular season games with the Bears, Neuvirth was 9-5 with two overtime losses and had a 2.70 GAA and .913 save percentage. Neuvirth was even better in the playoffs, winning 16 of 22 starts, with four shutouts and posting a 1.92 GAA and .932 save percentage as the Bears won the Calder Cup. Neuvirth was awarded the Jack Butterfield trophy as the Playoff MVP. After originally being slated to return to Europe on loan before plans fell through, Neuvirth was assigned to South Carolina in the ECHL. He won 6 of his first 9 starts with two shutouts for the Stingrays and had a 1.56 GAA and .942 save percentage at the end of November. He appeared in just three games in December before his call-up to Hershey and then lost all three of his starts in January while on loan to South Carolina from Hershey. Neuvirth finished 6-7 with a 2.28 GAA and .918 save percentage in 13 games with the Stingrays.

2009-10: Neuvirth split the season between the Capitals and AHL Hershey – while battling nagging injuries – in his second pro season. Neuvirth made a strong bid to start the season with Washington during pre-season before suffering a hip injury. After beginning the season in Hershey, he was recalled by the Capitals on November 18 as veteran Jose Theodore was unavailable. Neuvirth made his first start on November 20 and stopped 19 shots in a 3-2 loss to Montreal. In December he was again re-called by the Capitals after rookie Semyon Varlamov was injured. After dropping his second start in a 6-3 loss to Toronto, Neuvirth won three straight starts and 5 of his next 7 including a 38-save effort against Atlanta in which he stopped 18 shots in the first period in an 8-1 win. He was demoted to Hershey in February to allow him to keep playing during the Olympic break and spent the rest of the year with the Bears. In 17 NHL games, he was 9-4 with a 2.75 GAA and .914 save percentage. After starting slowly for Hershey following training camp, Neuvirth won 6 of 7 starts in November including a 42-save shutout of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on November 29. Neuvirth missed some time due to leg injuries in February and March but finished the regular season 15-6 with a 2.24 GAA and .919 save percentage in 22 games for Hershey. He started 18 of 21 playoff games and was 14-4 with 1 shutout and had a 2.07 GAA with a .920 save percentage as Hershey captured its second straight Calder Cup.


Talent Analysis

Neuvirth is a butterfly goaltender and is technically sound while maintaining his positioning in classic, textbook style. He stays square to shooters and comes out to the top of his crease when appropriate to cut down the angle. His most remarkable on-ice trait is his incredible composure. Neuvirth almost never appears rattled or caught up in a moment of excitement. Whether the puck is in the zone or elsewhere on the ice, Neuvirth is extremely economical with his movement. Has been vulnerable early in games at times and has battled nagging leg injuries but is among the elite young goaltending prospects.



Neuvirth was dealt by the Buffalo Sabres to the New York Islanders in exchange for Chad Johnson and a draft pick.


Washington Capitals 2012 draft preview

by Chris Roberts
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Photo: The Washington Capitals went the trade route in the 2011 NHL Draft, sending their first round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for winger Troy Brouwer. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)


After nearly advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, the revitalized Washington Capitals now turn their attention to the off-season. After having just four picks in last year's draft, the club has stockpiled 11 picks for this June's draft, including the 11th overall pick, which they acquired from the Colorado Avalanche for Semyon Varlamov, and their own 16th overall pick.

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