If The Capitals Want Playoff Success They Must Rest Holtby

 It’s no secret that Washington Capital’s goaltender, Braden Holtby, is struggling this season. He is currently sitting at a poor .909sv% and 3.03GAA in 38 games played. This is nowhere near his usual numbers, typically around .920sv% and near 2.30 GAA. 

Of course, this isn’t all his fault. The team isn’t as strong as it has been the last two seasons and they are giving up too many high danger shots against. But still, you would expect Holtby to produce Holtby-like numbers.

Leading Indicators
One indication of this is when was the last time Holtby really stole a game for the Caps? You never want your team to rely on your goalie to save your butt every game, but the great goalies get you points, even when you don’t deserve them. Holtby hasn’t really done that this season. The Caps would probably have 5-10 more points in the standings if Holtby was his old self.

Another indication of him having a poor year is he has zero shutouts. That’s unbelievable. Petr Mrazek, who has a .905sv%, has 4 shutouts. Robin Lehner, who plays on a terrible Buffalo Sabres team, has 3 shutouts. Cam Ward with a .906sv% has two. Jacob Markstrom, who almost set the record for most games played without a shutout has two this season on a bad Vancouver team. Holtby is so much better than those goalies and on a better team, but he still has a goose egg in the shutout stat.

A Tired Tender?
Back on February 20th, Japers’ Rink tweeted out the minutes played by Holtby over the last handful of seasons. Basically, he has played a hell of a lot, more than any other goalie since the 2014-2015 season, including the playoffs.

This makes one instantly think of Cam Talbot in Edmonton, who many are saying is playing too much. Last season he started 73 games for the Oilers. That was 10 more than the next goaltender, who coincidentally was Braden Holtby. Now it seems this season Talbot has lost some steam, dropping his save percentage from .919sv% to .904sv% and has also succumbed to injury, which happens to goalies who extend themselves too much. Luckily, Holtby hasn’t been injured by the amount of games he has played… yet.

It’s fitting that just yesterday Andrei Vasilevskiy, the goaltender who is probably the #1 for all Vezina votes, admitted he’s getting tired and this lack of rest is affecting his game. And he’s relatively new to the league, a young man at 23 who only played 145 games since the 2014-2015 season. Imagine how Holtby feels at 28 playing 250 games in that same span, over a 100 games more.

Early today, former Washington Capitals goaltender, Brent Johnson started a great Twitter thread talking about what he thinks is happening with Holtby. You can the 13 part section below.

That is great insight and wisdom from a former NHL goaltender.

Luckily, Trotz suggested yesterday that Grubauer might be taking the reins for the last bit of the season, which sounds like a great idea on two levels. First, it gets Holtby a much needed rest before the playoffs. Secondly, it shows off Grubauer for the rest of the league to potentially land a trading partner for the summer.

There are 16 games left in the regular season with two sets of back to back games. It could be vital to have Grubauer start at least 10 of those 16 games. Maybe play Holtby in three of the next 10 games, and then have him play the last 3 straight to get him ready for the playoffs. Whatever they decide, it’s fairly evident that Holtby needs some rest and they would be smart to give it to him.

By Luke Adomanis

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4 Responses to If The Capitals Want Playoff Success They Must Rest Holtby

  1. “It’s no secret that Washington Capital’s goaltender, Braden Holtby, is struggling this season….”

    Apparently it’s a secret to Coach Trotz who’s insisted on PT based on merit for everyone on the team not named Ovechkin, Backstrom, or Orpik,et al…Holtby’s play has been piss poor for a good portion of the season–particularly on breakaways–but until today’s announcement Barry’s been trotting him out there anyway…

    “Of course, this isn’t all his fault. The team isn’t as strong as it has been the last two seasons and they are giving up too many high danger shots against…”

    REALLY? Then how come Grubauer–who has to play with the exact same handicap(s)–has performed so much better in his starts? And before you bring up the loss of Braden’s security blanket (Mitch Korn) please keep in mind that Grubauer obviously no longer has Korn to fall back on either…BTW, the observation that Holtby’s performance has been sub par partly due to a deficit in the play around him underscores the absolute stupidity of assigning goalies Won-Lost records in the first place…it’s even dumber in my opinion than giving NFL quarterbacks Won-Lost records…I mean, even if a goalie does his job PERFECTLY, someone on his team still has to score in order for the net minder to get credited with the win, n’est’ce pas? And–as noted–his defensemen and forwards have to play the game the right way on the back end. (Again, Grubauer deals with the exact same handicaps…)

    “…it shows off Grubauer for the rest of the league to potentially land a trading partner for the summer….”

    You’re insane…I agree that playing Grubauer provides a platform for a potential trade during the off season but why would you want to do that at this point? Is Samsonov THAT close to joining (and producing up here? I think not…) Given everything we’ve seen I’d be inclined to hold on to PG and develop him further. All the lofty praise thrown Holtby’s way over the past two seasons led (most?) fans to think of him in the same terms as another career-long overworked goalie named Brodeur…But nothing could have been further from the truth. Braden is a good goalie all right, but he isn’t THAT good and never was. Too many instances where he lets pucks in on the short side or between his legs to mention him in the same breath as a Dominik Hasek, a Ken Dryden or a Carey Price…

    Let’s see if Braden can right the ship…Until he does, Grubauer ought to be the starter on this club until he proves he’s just a good backup…period…

    End,

    Clifford
    Santa Monica

    Like

  2. Pingback: Capitals Return Home From California Road Trip, Host Jets on Monday Night | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: Braden Holtby Turns-In Solid Rebound Effort | NoVa Caps

  4. Pingback: Grubauer To Start Game 2 For Capitals Against Blue Jackets | NoVa Caps

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