In a parallel universe, Philipp Grubauer is Washington’s number-one goalie, riding a career-best season into a cushy new contract. In this universe, he’s expansion-draft bait.
|.926||save percentage, all situations|
|2.04||goals against average|
|.940||save percentage during 5v5|
|.994||low-danger save percentage during 5v5|
|.939||medium-danger save percentage during 5v5|
|.837||high-danger save percentage during 5v5|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2016-17 season. A short description of each chart:
I could tell when Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov swapped goalie duties in 2010, or when Michal Neuvirth would fill in for Holtby in 2012, but I can’t honestly say I notice the difference when Grubauer stepped in net during 2016-17. Maybe that speaks to the goalie-whispering skills of Mitch Korn, but let’s not short-change Grubauer. He put up the best number-two goalie performance for Washington since Cristobal Huet in 2008.
Grubauer didn’t hit the minimum for the Jennings trophy, and his partner is a Vezina finalist, but none of that should diminish a season that would look damn good for any team’s starting goalie. By season’s end, only Craig Andersen and Aaron Dell fared better during 5-on-5 than Grubauer.
Going by pure percentages, Grubauer was technically better than Holtby this season.
And none of that matters now. With the expansion draft looming, Grubauer looks primed to leave town and join the Vegas Golden Knights, managed by the man who drafted him in 2010, George McPhee.
I’m torn. Unless this season was a mirage that he cannot repeat, Philipp Grubauer is an excellent goaltender who’s about to become a sturdy franchise leader. I’m happy for him, but I’ll miss Holtby’s nights off, when there was no reason whatsoever to panic because that goofy German guy has freaking got this.
What are the chances Grubauer wears Caps red next season?
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen
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