David Hutchison | Jan 22, 2019 | 0
Holtby Deal is Top Priority for Capitals
The Washington Capitals are faced with many contract issues heading into this offseason, but it appears that signing goaltender Braden Holtby is number one on general manager Brian MacLellan’s list.
He’s an impending restricted free agent, but it looks like the Caps are looking to sign Holtby to a new contract that extends into his unrestricted years.
Much like the Columbus Blue Jackets’ deal with Sergei Bobrovsky, the challenge will be to work out a contract that is appropriate for both sides, but also allows the team to build around their goaltender in the future.
Forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson will also need to be signed, but the GM made it clear in an interview with ESPN’s Craig Custance that Holtby is the top priority and that the two sides are already negotiating.
“We’re negotiating,” he said of the Holtby talks. “We’re trying to get a good deal done for both parties. He’s a priority for us. I think we’ll get it done. It seems to be going the proper way in negotiations.”
He also expressed concern in the interview about making sure that the goaltender is the “real deal” before committing to a long-term contract. The team doesn’t want to get stuck with a bad goaltender contract, like the Arizona Coyotes and Mike Smith – whose cap hit actually increases to $6.5M in 2015-2016.
“If it doesn’t work, you’re in trouble,” MacLellan acknowledged. “There are three or four cases where it hurts the team.”
InGoal previously touched on this subject about Holtby, and came to the conclusion that while his numbers show that he may not be “elite” by most standards, he’s at least very close and is trending in the right direction.
Holtby will be entering his age 26 season, which is right in the heart of the prime years for a goaltender. His cap hit was $1.85M this past season, but he earned $2.0M with his salary.
After another very successful season, in which he came very close to outduelling Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs, it’s easy to assume that he will be receiving a substantial raise.