Photo: Monumental Network
The Washington Capitals have a bunch of free agents headed into July 1st, and there’s no player more important to re-up than franchise goalie Braden Holtby. Holtby had a career year, leading the NHL in games played (73) and total saves (1,887) while also being second in wins (41) and shutouts (9). In the playoffs, Holtby was somehow even better, having an initial 8-game stretch that was the best in NHL goaltending history.
On Sunday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said that there is a belief that the Caps want to lock up Braden Holtby long term. Per his 30 Thoughts column:
18. Another one with no confirmation: that contract talks are underway with Washington and restricted free agent Braden Holtby. He’s their top priority. GM Brian MacLellan and agent David Kaye did not return messages, but another source described opening conversations as optimistic. Holtby is two seasons from being unrestricted, but the belief is the Capitals are more than willing to buy into those years.
With Holtby a restricted free agent, the negotiations of a new contract could be tricky and last deep into the summer. Many opposing teams avoid trying to sign another team’s RFA to an offer sheet because it causes bad blood among GMs, and the draft picks the team would have to surrender is kind of ridiculous. Consider if a team signs Holtby to a contract worth over $6,539,062 per year, (per Wikipedia) it costs a team four first-round draft picks. So usually there’s not much urgency between a team and its star to get a new contract signed.
On top of that, RMNB’s Pat Holden determined that Holtby’s worth to the team is around $8.05 million. Meanwhile, one of Holtby’s comparables, Sergei Bobrovski, recently signed a 4-year, $29.7-million contract extension worth $7.425 million a year. For the Caps, anything north of $6 million will seriously restrict how many of their UFAs, such as Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, and Eric Fehr, they can bring back.
So at least both sides are optimistic!
There was one other note from Friedman.
19. In his season-ending media conference, MacLellan said he was looking to add a top-six winger. Word is out, though: Don’t even ask about Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Yes, let’s not trade any more future superstars. I am totally supportive of this position.
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