The Washington Capitals have resigned goalie Braden Holtby to a five-year contract extension. With 178 NHL games already under his belt, is Holtby the best goalie that an Alex Ovechkin led Caps team has ever played with?
Let’s take a look at where “Holtbeast” ranks among Caps goalies of the Ovechkin era. Holtby has been extremely good, but is he number one?
Who Missed the Cut:
Olaf Kolzig (He is the best goalie in Caps franchise history, but he was on the down-side of his career by the time Ovechkin put on a Capitals sweater)
Washington Capitals Fifth Best Recent Goalie: Neuvirth
Drafted by the Washington Capitals with the 34th overall pick (2nd round) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, the 6’1” goalie from the Czech Republic showed a lot of promise during his developmental days in the Capitals’ organization.
The technically sound goalie enjoyed early success in his professional hockey career, winning back-to-back Calder Cups with the Hershey Bears in 2009 and 2010 while posting very respectable numbers in net.
Neuvirth went on to start in 116 games for the Washington Capitals over the course of six seasons, posting a 59-41-13 record with a .910 SV% and 2.67 GAA.
The highlight of his Caps career would come in the 2011 playoffs, where he beat King Henrik and New York Rangers in five games (the only less-than 7 game series win of the Ovechkin era) to advance to the second round.
Despite several stretches of good goaltending, Neuvirth was never able to get over the hump and become a long-term option for the Caps in net. He was eventually traded to the Buffalo Sabres for Jaroslav Halak during the 2013-14 season.