Washington Capitals: Top 5 key players for a successful season

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 04: Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) rests during a stoppage in play during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals NHL hockey game April 4, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 04: Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) rests during a stoppage in play during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals NHL hockey game April 4, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

#3 Braden Holtby

The Capitals will need Braden Holtby to return to his Vezina Trophy-winning form in order to have a successful season. Holtby finished the last two regular seasons with 34 and 32 wins, respectively, and will look for a much better season in 2019-20.

Last season, Holtby amassed a record of 32-19-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. Although he won more games the previous season, Holtby’s GAA lowered last season from 2.99 and his save percentage improved from .907. Holtby also added three shutouts.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 04: Goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals tends the net against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Capital One Arena on April 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 04: Goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals tends the net against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Capital One Arena on April 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Capitals offseason upgrades this summer had a heavy emphasis on improving their defense overall and for a netminder like Braden Holtby, that’s great news for him.

Part of Holtby’s struggles was the inexperience of the defensemen while last season injuries played a factor for a couple of their high end guys such as Brooks Orpik, Christian Djoos, and ultimately, Michal Kempny.

The better Holtby plays this season, the better position the Caps will be against a competitive Metropolitan Division. As a result, his value next summer will only get higher and it’ll make things very complicated to keep him after the massive $70-million contract that was signed by Sergei Bobrovsky.

Obviously, Holtby doesn’t want this final year of his contract to be a distraction. He said that to J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington on media day:

"“Obviously, my goal is to win a Stanley Cup here and everything else, I’m not an agent for a reason. I’m a hockey player.”"

Holtby will look to lead the Caps back to another Stanley Cup. After all, that comes first before we even have to worry about next offseason.