Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Report Card: Braden Holtby

Whaddaya know?  He's, like, really good, and stuff.
Today I give you the tenth installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital through this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is young goaltender Braden Holtby, who finished his second year in the organization this season.

Stats/Season Summary: Holtby had an excellent statistical season this year. The 21 year old played in 14 games, starting 12, and compiled a 10-2-2 record, 1.79 GAA, .934 Save%, and two shutouts.  He picked up the win in his NHL debut after he relieved Michal Neuvirth in a game against the Bruins, but then had a significant rough patch until he was sent back to the AHL following Semyon Varlamov's return to health.  After coming up quickly in January, he was basically given the starter's reigns following injuries to both Neuvy and Varly and ran with it, only allowing six goals over the six games he played in March (all wins). Grade: A-
Role Play: Holtby, as I said before, got off to a rough start during his first call-up, but the second and third times, he was absolute dynamite.  He was exactly what the Capitals needed him to be: a hot goaltender to plug in to their lineup without worrying about him in the net.  Holtby allowed the Caps to keep playing their game and made some unreal saves, and can be pointed to as a major catalyst in the turnaround that saw the Caps claim the top seed in the East.  In short, he did precisely what he was supposed to and more. Grade: A
Playoffs: Holtby was recalled by the Caps to be one of their "black aces" before the Tampa series, but never dressed for a game. Grade: N/A
Future Potential: Holtby is only 21, so he has plenty of development in front of him and projects as an elite NHL goalie.  He uses his size well and has great reflexes, including an exceptional glove hand, and he showed this season that when he gets hot, it is terribly hard to beat him.  The Capitals have an embarrassment of wealth at the goaltending position, and I still think one of their 3 will get traded this offseason, but Holtby will be a stud wherever he ends up. Grade: A
Here's some video of a ridiculous save Holtby made in Tampa in March.

The next report card will be posted on May 19 and will feature "The Professor" Matt Bradley.

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