NoVa Caps has been preparing key “player previews” for the upcoming season as the Washington Capitals begin to gear up for the start of training camp in two weeks. Today, we continue our player previews with goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
2016-17 Season Recap
Grubauer had his best season in a Capitals sweater, posting a 13-6-2 record in 19 starts with a goals-against average of 2.04 and a .926 save percentage. The games played, wins, GAA and save percentage were each career highs.
Grubauer also had his first career shutout last season and two more since that start, giving the Capitals a double-threat in net. Simply put, he has become one of the best backup goaltenders in the NHL. Over the last two seasons, whenever the Capitals decided to give Braden Holtby some much-needed rest, Grubauer went a combined 21-15-3 with a 2.17 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
Grubauer didn’t see much playoff action, only coming into Game 2 of the second round series against the Penguins in the third period after Holtby had a frustrating night allowing three goals.
Philipp Grubauer’s Top Play of 2016-17
Grubauer entered the offseason likely to be selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Instead, the Golden Knights selected Marc Andre Fleury as their goalie and chose Nate Schmidt from the Capitals. The Capitals ended up re-signing Grubauer to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.
With Grubauer entering another season as a backup, the Capitals need him to continue to be reliable. The Capitals have built organizational goaltending depth, adding the likes of Phoenix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov, so don’t be surprised if the Capitals trade Grubauer at the mid-season deadline.
More of this:
The more starts that Grubauer can have like this 38-save shutout against the Kings, the more confident the Capitals feel when they give Holtby a rest.
Less of this:
Grubauer’s worst starts of the season came in November against the Hurricanes and in February against the Predators. Both games were on the road and in both of those games, Grubauer allowed four goals. In the game in Carolina, Grubauer faced a whopping 37 shots and each of those four goals were unanswered. Other than that, Grubauer has been stellar.
Key Goals for the Season:
- Keep being a reliable backup to Braden Holtby
- Don’t get discouraged that he hasn’t gotten a starting job somewhere
- Be ready to step up if Holtby is having a rough night
- A challenge: play in at least 25 games and allow the fewest goals in the league to join Holtby in winning the William Jennings Trophy.
Goodbye Grubi? Could Today’s Game Have Been Philipp Grubauer’s Last As a Capital?
What Does the Future Hold for Philipp Grubauer?
NoVa Caps Interview: Philipp Grubauer – “That Could’ve Been Us”
Other Player Previews:
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Devante Smith-Pelly
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Braden Holtby
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Brett Connolly
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Nicklas Backstrom
Washington Capitals Player Preview: John Carlson
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Evgeny Kuznetsov
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Dmitry Orlov
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Matt Niskanen
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Lars Eller
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Tom Wilson
Washington Capitals Player Preview: T.J. Oshie
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Andre Burakovsky
By Michael Marzzacco
SUMMERTIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA