Philipp Grubauer has proven everything to the NHL that he is very capable of holding his own in between the pipes. He holds great value in the Washington Capitals organization and will one day earn his spot somewhere as a starter.
Last night in Tampa Bay, he displayed a phenomenal amount of skill. Desperation save after desperation save, Grubauer held his ground for the Caps. Unfortunately, he came up short in overtime by a power play goal from Nikita Kucherov. It’s always heartbreaking to experience an overtime loss, especially after such a stellar performance.
One of the main contributing factors to last night’s loss was the Caps blue line. There was barely any support on rebound control, nor goalie protection from the “after the whistle nonsense.” The biggest culprits were Aaron Ness and Taylor Chorney. Ness showed no goalie protection and continued to get beat on the half wall. He still continues to show speed and potential as a young call-up. Chorney has an excellent poke check ability and a good veteran mentality. He took risks, which sometimes you have to, but unfortunately they did not play out in his favor. He was beat in a one on one for the game tying goal by Kucherov. He almost scored a goal in the 2nd period, going in on a two on one with Alex Ovechkin. Andre Vasilevskiy made superb save on Chorney to keep him from scoring his first of the season.
In my opinion, Chorney rightfully deserves to be on the Caps’ defense roster. I believe he needs to be on the left side, not the right. He needs a right handed counterpart and I believe it should be Madison Bowey. Bowey is a great, two-way defenseman who could potentially become a top four blue liner. Ness and Christian Djoos should compete for the extra defenseman spot and rotate out with Chorney depending on opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses. Player who doesn’t make the cut will go on to lead the Hershey blue line. It’s a win-win for both clubs, but this is just my opinion. Let me know your thoughts.