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Time to trade a goalie? Caps GM doesn’t think so

Mar 30, 2013, 9:37 AM EDT

George McPhee AP

Washington is in a similar situation to what they had a couple seasons ago. They’ve got three young goalies they like and just one of them dominating most of the ice time. Braden Holtby is their No. 1 guy now with Michal Neuvirth backing him up and Philipp Grubauer waiting in the wings in AHL Hershey.

With the trade deadline coming up on Wednesday, does that mean there’s a deal coming? Capitals GM George McPhee doesn’t see it that way. In speaking with reporters recently, he says he likes the surplus of talent they’ve got in goal, as’s Chuck Gormley shares.

“I’m in no hurry to make a change there. It’s the most important position in the game and you have to be careful,” McPhee said. “We felt we could move [Semyon] Varlamov [to Colorado] because we had these two kids coming and we’ve got [Philipp] Grubauer now, but you’d like for [Grubauer] to have a little more experience.”

The easiest way for Grubauer to get that experience would be to have someone ahead of him cleared out. McPhee mentioning Semyon Varlamov makes sense for this situation as that’s what this one is very similar to.

He’d probably change his tone about dealing one of his goalies if a team offered up their first and second round picks for one of them.

  1. bethgoesglobal - Mar 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Sure, but would he trade Holtby? I highly doubt it. And who would give up a first AND second round pick for Neuvy?? The fact that he hasn’t seen much ice time this season and that when he has played he’s been underperforming has not helped his trade value this year.

    • trick9 - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      He is not talking about Holtby, and clearly no team is willing to give that much for Neuvy atleast not so far because he hasn’t been traded yet. He is just saying that he is in no hurry to move Neuvy because he can afford to wait until summer to move him.

      Despite him struggling he has shown that he can be a starter in the NHL and has had some very good years already. Bags of potential and should bring back 1st rounder because when Bernier is gone he will be the only great young goalkeeper available. And he is more proven than Bernier aswell.

      • bethgoesglobal - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        Well, the author wrote “He’d probably change his tone about dealing one of his goalies if…” offered 1st and 2nd round pick. So yes, the author was implying either Holtby or Neuvy.
        I was implying that Holtby is worth more than that and that Neuvy may not garner that kind of return given his play this season.

  2. t9tookey - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Can someone tell me where this Grubauer for Holtby’s backup idea came from and why it’s even being talked about? Grubby dominated at the ECHL level and is playing well at the AHL level but come on. The guy hasn’t even played a whole season in Hershey yet. Washington’s recent history of goalie development suggests that they are in no hurry to promote another goalie. Neuvy & Holtby both spent their far amount of time in Hershey to develop and I think they’ll do the same with Grubby too. He’ll have more opportunity to develop in Hershey with more playing time. Ollie the goalie visits often enough to help Grubby. Washington can’t tell what they have in Grubby if he’s sitting more than saving.

    • trick9 - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Exactly. They should trade Neuvy now or atleast in the summer when hes RFA and bring veteran goalkeeper to backup and mentor Holtby. Then Grubauer should be brought up for ’14-15 season. No need to rush him because Holtby will play most of the games.

  3. Mike Holden - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    You wrote: “The easiest way for Grubauer to get that experience would be to have someone ahead of him cleared out.” Can you explain what you mean there? Because if Neuvirth were traded, for example, and you’re suggesting Grubauer can then get that experience at the NHL level, that might not happen if Holtby is getting most of the starts.

    I’m making an assumption here since I wasn’t at the press conference, but I would think McPhee means he’d like for Grubauer to have “a little more experience” at the AHL level first before counting too much on him. If the Caps were to get an offer they like for Neuvirth and decide to deal him, I’d keep Grubauer in the AHL next season and let him start the bulk of the games to develop further, while finding an inexpensive veteran back-up for Holtby.

    • Joe Yerdon - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      To me it read that McPhee wanted to see more of Grubauer at the NHL level to see what he’s got there. AHL can tell you a lot, but not the whole picture.

      • Mike Holden - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        Thanks for the reply. That make sense. I’d love to see him get a few more spot starts in the NHL when he’s needed, but I really hope he can spend most of next season as Hershey’s number one goalie. That strikes me as what’s best for him in his development, IMHO.

      • Joe Yerdon - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        It’s worked out well for Holtby to get that time in the AHL. McPhee certainly doesn’t want to make a trade to shake it up. If Grubauer shows he can do well, however, it wouldn’t be a shock to see someone moved down the road.

      • Mike Holden - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        I think Neuvirth turns into a bit of a wasted asset at some point, if Holtby becomes the clear number one guy. If the Caps end up using Holbty 70-80% of the time for example, they might get something decent for Neuvirth from a team that wants to use him more and could then sign a vet to back up Holtby for a season or two while Grubauer gets time in the AHL. I wrote something on this recently:

  4. lordfletcher - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    remember when Holtby got the new contract and a certain poster here said it was stupid and a bad deal for an “unproven” goalie. LOL!

    Bet he would like those sentences back. Holtby is legit and young. Kudos.

    I wouldn’t trade a goalie yet, anything can happen before the playoffs. move Neuvirth in the off season if Holtby continues on his current path.

    cheers – wild fan

  5. trbowman - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I’ve seen a lot of Neuvirth and he’s not that good. I’d trade a bag of pucks for him, if that.

  6. kaptaanamerica - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    If the caps are serious about improving they should trade neuvirth to Vancouver for luongo, them trade holtby for a first and second in this Years draft and bring grubauer up as a backup to get mentored by luongo.the guy did wonders for Schneider and can do the same for this kid.then in five years time luongo starts backing up the kid.the kid can be starter knowing all the pressure won’t be on him with a veteran and proven mentor behind him. The caps take the first and second rounders they got for holtby and get some young studs or package Them for a proven scorer.point is the caps need to leverage what they have to try and win now.they Have a window with ovechkin and it is starting to close.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Just say no to Luongo!

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