Braden Holtby, Caps Come to Terms

After a lengthy dispute, Capitals netminder Braden Holtby has come to terms with the Capitals.

The deal is for five years and will pay the 25-year old Lloydminister, Saskatoon native $30.5 million for five years, with an AAV of $6.1 million. With how the Caps rode Holtby last year, it’s no surprise he was looking for a considerable raise from his $1.85 AAV on his past two-year deal.

The 2008 fourth round pick spent time with the Caps from 2011-13 suiting up for 57 games before playing in 48 contests in 2013-14. His save percentage in those 57 games was .925 and he posted a 37-16-4 record. In 2013-14, the team missed the playoffs and Holtby was a part of the struggle, going 23-15-4 with a .915 save percentage and 2.85 GAA. The team traded for Jaroslav Halak at the trade deadline, something that torched Holtby’s confidence amidst the tension around the team.

Committed to be a better goaltender this past season, Holtby was helped tremendously by goalie coach Mitch Korn and his longterm connection to sports psychologist John Stevenson. Korn was hired by the team in the 2014 offseason after then-goalie coach Olaf Kolzig started to get Holtby back to playing his aggressive style that was reportedly restricted under then-head coach Adam Oates. It’s carried over to Korn, who continued to breathe fire in the Capitals backstop.

The results were pretty staggering. Holtby played 73 games totaling 4,247 minutes, the most among all NHL goalies. He tied for 2nd in wins with 41, tied for 7th in save percentage with a .923 mark, placed 5th in GAA with a 2.22 finish, and posted nine shutouts.

Only 25, Holtby is in the top three in Capitals goaltending history in games played, wins, shuthouts, save percentage, and goals against average. Kolzig has been quoted to say that he sees a lot of him in Holtby, and with him chasing “Godzilla”‘s records already, it is a pretty fair comparison.

Getting Holtby locked up his huge for a Capitals team vying to get over the 2nd round hump. They have not made the Conference Finals since 1998 when they went to the Stanley Cup Finals and have lost a Game 7 in the 2nd round four times since the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Holtby has been a part of two, the latest this season versus the Rangers in which the team blew a 3 games to 1 lead. He was far from the issue, posting a .944 save percentage and 1.71 GAA. In 34 career playoff games, the Capitals goaltender has posted a career save percentage of .936 and GAA of 1.92.

With the contract signed, Holtby and general manager Brian MacLellan along with the rest of the Capitals organization will likely have a singular goal in mind standing out among others.

Getting over that hump.

Main Photo:

Contract info courtesy of Spotrac
Stats courtesy of hockey reference, hockeydb, and
Kron+Stevenson info courtesy of The Washington Post