Braden Holtby has been a rock for the Washington Capitals in net throughout the years he’s played for them. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and helped bring home the Stanley Cup to Washington D.C. last year. With contract extension talks looming social media, some questions arise whether the Caps should retain his services or move on to one of the young guns down in Hershey.
One of Holtby’s most memorable NHL moments was hands down “The Save” during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals when he robbed Vegas Golden Knights’ forward Alex Tuch with the stick on an open net chance. He has flashed greatness for many years for the Caps, but he has also let in some softies. In perspective, what goalie hasn’t let in goals that should’ve been saved? Some fans believe he has let in too many and is not worth the pay he’s expected to ask for when it comes to contractual talk.
Hershey Bears’ net-minding duo, Vitek Vanacek and Sergei Samsonov, have been brought into the discussion quite a bit on whether or not they should be given a look next season. With the three-year extension given to Pheonix Copley, I doubt they would be forced into an NHL role, but you never know.
Holtby this season posted 32-19-5 (W-L-OTL) record this regular season with a .911 save percentage. Not too bad and enough for the Caps to win the Metro division. We can all make our own opinion and judgement on the Canadian goaltender, but at the end of the day, it’s all a scheme in General Manager Brian MacLellan‘s eyes. We’ll just have to wait and see if he believes in Holtby enough to bring him back, or decide to let him go.
Each week during the regular season and about once per round during the playoffs, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes his popular 31 Thoughts column. In the current column, two of the thoughts (numbers 20 and 21) were about the Capitals. Continue reading “Capitals Excerpts from 31 Thoughts”
One of the most underrated centers in the NHL today, Nicklas Backstrom has been a crucial part of the Capitals’ organization for many years. Drafted in 2006, “Backy” has been a playmaking machine for the club and a serious lifeline for goal scorers like Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana.
Backstrom accumulated 74 points this season (22g, 52a), putting him 2nd on the Caps’ list for most points behind Ovechkin. This post-season, Backstrom has the most goals for the Caps (5) and the best face-off percentage (52.69%). He continues to help drive this team to its best form and this season he did not disappoint. His vision on the ice has always been something that sometimes gets overlooked, but blows our minds when we notice it.
As a top six elite centerman for the Caps, Backstrom holds his team and himself to a high standard. In his season exit interview he stated, “Even if it sucks right now, I feel like we’re going to come back stronger and more prepared. That’s our goal and we got a good team.” He has the perfect mindset for a leader of the Washington Capitals, train hard and come back stronger next year for a harder run at glory.
Ever since he was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004, Alex Ovechkin has ignited the hockey community in the DMV in so many ways. He has proven himself to be a world class, one of a kind hockey player. He has surprised us all with insane highlight reel goals and brought home the Stanley Cup. His game has grown tremendously since game one of his career and the franchise owes everything to our great captain.
Ovechkin has proven time and time again he can contribute in many ways other than scoring and hitting. This regular season he has totaled 38 assists for the Caps; 4th highest on the team behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (51), Nicklas Backstrom (52), and John Carlson (57). He’s been looking to pass the puck to make the play rather than go for the snipe as he usually does, disregarding the fact of earning his 8th Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 51 goals. He has been playing on different parts of the ice, like screening the goaltender in the offensive zone and playing the high-point man on the umbrella power play. This regular season he has accumulated 89 points (51g, 38a) in 81 game and in the playoffs he accumulated 9 points (4g, 5a) in all 7 games of the series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Ovechkin had yet another great season and carried his stellar play through into the post-season, there’s nothing he should be ashamed about. He continues to shoot the puck and distribute checks to better his team through each in-game situation. Goalies continue to study and learn his shooting/scoring tendencies each season. Ovechkin also continues to evolve his own game, finding new/old creative ways to beat them. At the prime age of 33 and turning 34 in September, he isn’t getting younger and must stay up to par in this fast-paced league. He stated in his season exit interview he stated, “I have to be better” at everything. He mentioned his shooting, passing, even his fight with Andrei Svechnikov all has to better moving forward. He’ll train hard this off-season to seek another crack at reuniting with Lord Stanley’s Cup and don’t be surprised if we see another successful season from the Great Eight.