Braden Holtby was one of the very best goalies in the world during this past regular season, but that’s not how his 2016-17 will be remembered.
|.925||save percentage, all situations|
|2.07||goals against average|
|.937||save percentage during 5v5|
|.993||low-danger save percentage during 5v5|
|.943||medium-danger save percentage during 5v5|
|.822||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:
Braden Holtby is a Vezina finalist again, though he won’t win this time around. Columbus’s Sergei Bobrovsky was just too good, and he’ll likely deprive Holtby of a title that could have taken some of the sting out of 2016-17.
It’s obligatory to praise Holtby for yet another sterling regular season, so I’ll do that now. There’s the downright appalling consistency that he’s had since he entered the league, and the way his goaltending – paired with the best defensive corps the Caps have ever had – gave the team their first Jennings trophy in more than 30 years. Holtby enjoyed his lowest goals-against average in a full season, 42 wins, and 9 shutouts – both of which led the league. Holtby was, in a word, elite.
Hey, that’s great. But how about that .888 save percentage against the Penguins?
After being literally the best playoff goalie ever, Holtby crashed hard in round two, surrendering 17 goals to the Penguins. No postseason goalie fared worse. There’s no kind way to put it: Holtby’s disaster was the primary reason why the Caps’ supposed last best chance at a Cup got snuffed.
Whatever defense we can mount for Holtby must involve two points: 1) the Caps offense gave him the barest amount of goal support, and 2) the Penguins were deadly on odd-man rushes, which Washington fed them quite a hefty share of. But still, Holtby was not good.
Holtby’s around for another three years, earning six million a pop. Based on his regular-season record he’ll earn that paycheck, but the burn of his 2016-17 postseason is going to be with us for awhile.
Now for happier stuff.
Does Holtby’s playoff performance make you worry at all for his future performances? And why do people keep knocking him over on the ice? And who keeps giving him money to buy hats?
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen
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