Hello. This is the Braden Holtby season review, and I’m going to begin by saying I TOLD YOU SO.
This article is less a real review and more of a shameless celebration of Holtby, who is elite.
|.923||Save percentage, all situations|
|2.22||Goals against average, which is not a goalie stat|
|2||Assists (hell yeah)|
|.932||Save percentage during 5v5, 7th best*|
|.972||Low-danger save percentage during 5v5, 17th best|
|.924||Medium-danger save percentage during 5v5, 21st best|
|.865||High-danger save percentage during 5v5, 2nd best|
* Among NHL goalies with at least 2000 5v5 minutes played
Reversing the incompetence of last year’s defensive system alone should do (modestly appreciable) wonders for Holtby’s numbers. Undoing Oates’ ill-advised tweaks and adding Korn to the diet should help as well. And icing in front of Holtby the best defensive roster this team has seen in at least 15 years, well, this may very well be a Vezina season for Braden.
Braden isn’t gonna win the Vezina (Price, in a walk), but he played good enough to earn the elite label. Here are the best goalies of the last decade, each with at least 5000 shots faced.
|Player||Shots Faced||Save Percentage|
That’s a good list, and Holtby’s in a good spot, because he also is good.
This season, Holtby led the league in games played (73, which is more than Mike Green, who is not a goalie), games started (71), shots faced (2044), saves (1887), and quality starts (45). That last one is something of a fancy statistic, and I’ll get even a bit fancier with this next one: save percentage on high-danger shots, in which Holtby was second best.
Again: If Price weren’t ridiculously good for a ridiculously bad team, Holtby would have a great case to win the Vezina. For example: nine shutouts– including a perfect three against Boston (88 shots, 88 saves).
This is usually the part where I reach back in time to embed snide criticism from Twitter (“Trade Holtby!” “Average goaltender at best!”), but I’m in too good of a mood. Braden put me there. The only matter left to discuss is his next contract.
Elliotte Friedman tells me that the Caps want to buy into some of Holtby’s unrestricted years on his next contract. For years and years this franchise has made its bones by never overpaying or over-committing to a goalie. But they’ve never had a goalie this good. Braden Holtby is gonna get paid, and he’s gonna deserve it.
"I hope I never reach the top of my game." – Braden Holtby, zen as fuck
— RMNB (@russianmachine) February 4, 2015
Braden Holtby’s elite label is not up for discussion. The matter is settled. Instead, let’s discuss contract terms. Long-term, eating up UFA years? Bridge contract to defer the big payday? Dollars?
Read more: Japers Rink
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