With their 21 year old goaltender in the net, the Washington Capitals are 7-2-2 this season. Braden Holtby has filled in admirably for Washington in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth’s absence, including goaltending in the last five of the Cap’s eight straight wins.
While goalie debates have been a frequent topic of conversation around our nation’s capital, Holtby’s name had never previously been mentioned as a regular starter. Until now.
Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington took a look at Holtby’s numbers before his start in Washington’s win against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and pondered whether he has earned a starting spot going forward.
In 11 NHL games so far this season, Holtby has allowed a scant 1.84 goals per game (best among any goalie in the league with at least as many appearances) while stopping 93.4 percent of shots fired his way (second only to Boston’s Tim Thomas).
But are 11 games enough to convince the Capitals’ decision-makers Holtby deserves the starting job through the final month of the regular season and into the playoffs?
For now, Holtby gets the nod over Neuvirth (who appears to healthy enough to return) and Varlamov (who has been out since February 20 with a knee injury).
“It’s a chance for him,” winger Mike Knuble said
Holtby’s confidence is the net can not be taken for granted. Washington has two overtime wins and one shootout win with Holtby as their goalie, but can he handle the pressure of a run through the playoffs?
Do you think Braden Holtby should be given a chance to stay on the roster when Varlamov returns?