Skip to content

What’s next for Braden Holtby?

May 13, 2012, 1:03 PM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shakes hands with Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 12, 2012 in New York City. The Rangers defeat the Capitals 2-1. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

At the end of the day, the Washington Capitals were once again denied entrance to the Conference Finals. That’s become a recurring theme in the Alex Ovechkin era. Then again, the Capitals can certainly take some positives out of their playoff run because this isn’t just the Ovechkin era anymore.

While Ovechkin’s contributions shouldn’t be overlooked despite his diminished offensive output in recent years, the story of the Capitals’ 2012 playoff run was Braden Holtby. Washington was great defensively, but they also relied heavily on Holtby to keep them competitive in their low-scoring games. He only had 21 NHL contests worth of experiencing going into the playoffs, but he rose to the occasion.

“You gotta give him credit,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “He played under extreme pressure. He had to go up against [Tim] Thomas, a Stanley Cup winner and [Henrik] Lundqvist, who could be MVP of the league. He battled them tooth and nail. I’m proud of him.”

So the question now is if Holtby’s impressive run was simply a matter of a goaltender getting hot at the right time or if he’s the real deal. It is worth noting that even before this season began, he was a highly regarded prospect. In fact, he might have ended up winning the starting job a lot sooner if the Capitals didn’t sign Tomas Vokoun to a one-year deal before the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

Vokoun will probably leave Washington and the Capitals will almost certainly start 2012-13 with Holtby and Michal Neuvirth competing for playing time. That’s a potentially dangerous proposition because either goaltender might benefit from having a veteran backup to both take some of the pressure off and offer some guidance along the way, but both Holtby and Neuvirth deserve to be playing at this level.

Young goaltenders are, as a group, unreliable. Even Cam Ward, who won a the Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes as a rookie, suffered a sophomore slump. Holtby might similarly have rough patches in 2012-13, but regardless of what happens next season, he could have a long and prosperous career in Washington.

  1. Buffalo Grumblings - May 13, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Uh playing next year? What do you you think he’s going to do?

    • brian32556 - May 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      A simpleton response from a simple-minded organization.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - May 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Glad you liked it slick

  2. ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Change Some Diapers… Rookie of the Year… Lead us to the Playoffs… That’s about it

  3. watermelon1 - May 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Hopefully what’s next is… They get at least one actual defenseman to play in front of this guy! Or perhaps they get another scorer to take the opposing defenses attention off Ovechkin.

  4. girouxhasladyballs - May 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    i heard he’s absolutely mediocre in the regular season. good run but that’s all it was. caps sign him to another awful contract now!

    • ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      Really? Because in his 21 Regular Season Games, he is 14-4-3…. I guess that’s mediocre

      • girouxhasladyballs - May 13, 2012 at 6:16 PM

        i believe he is 7-7 in the playoffs tho.

      • ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 8:19 PM

        In his 1st Career Playoff Run. With Jeff Schultz and Dennis Wideman leaving him out to dry for all 14 Games

      • girouxhasladyballs - May 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        oh my bad. caps are the only team with incompetent players in the playoffs. quit making excuses.

      • ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

        We made it further than you guys did… You are one of the biggest toolbags on this site

      • girouxhasladyballs - May 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM

        your jimmies are so rustled. hang another second round banner up in the verizon center.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 14, 2012 at 4:06 AM

        @ girouxhasladyballs… Actually, that’d imply the Caps actually won a 2nd-round series, sir….

    • therealjr - May 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      7-7 with a 1.95/.935. Quit trying to defend your original, uninformed contention.

      • girouxhasladyballs - May 15, 2012 at 12:18 AM

        aaaaaaaaaaaand out of the playoffs. so those percentages mean a whole lot don’t they? “WE ARE OUT BUT WE DID GOOD LOL”

      • therealjr - May 17, 2012 at 2:17 AM

        Out of the playoffs because the team was not good enough, not because they didn’t get excellent goal tending. In case you didn’t get it from the other comments: you are a clown. And quit thumbs upping your own posts.

  5. stakex - May 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    As good as Holtby looked for most of the series, it can’t be said enough how well Washington played in front of him. After all, the Caps blooked over 160 shots in the series with the Rangers. Its a fair question to ask if Holtby would have looked as good had a few more shots made it to him.

    Its also worth noting that he did in fact let in some soft goals that ended up costing the Caps… especially in games one, and seven. Again, if the Caps weren’t playing very solid defense in front of him does he have a couple more “oops” goals go in?

  6. babykaby - May 14, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    The players seem to be a lot more confident with him in net than with Vokoun

  7. babykaby - May 14, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    It wasn’t the Caps that started that high glove hand nonsense about Hank, it was the idiot local media in DC. Caps knew he was tough.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1702)
  2. P. Kane (1267)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1112)
  4. S. Matthias (1074)
  5. M. Giordano (977)