The Caps own the Cup, but the future is unclear. Now, at the dawn of the offseason, it’s time to ask ourselves the big questions.
In this episode: Can Grubi get the Caps another first-round draft pick?
Over the last two seasons, no goalie in the NHL stopped a higher percentage of 5-on-5 shots than Philipp Grubauer. All but 72 of the 1171 shots he faced were denied, giving Grubi a two-year save percentage of 93.9. He helped backstop the Capitals to Jennings Trophy last season, and he stepped up to the number-one role in 2018 when Braden Holtby faltered.
In short: he’s good.
Though his workload is lighter than his peers, it’s abundantly clear that Grubauer is ready for a starting goalie position. There is no such position available in Washington. Braden Holtby owns the number-one spot for the next two years, and the prospect pool is very strong with Copley, Samsonov, and Vanecek all eager for a look.
With his sterling numbers and restricted free-agent status, Grubauer is a very attractive, very fungible trade asset.
The Caps could do a sign-and-trade, finding a good number and term for Grubauer (maybe three or four years, between $3 and 4 million?) before shipping him off to a forever home in Carolina or Long Island, two parties rumored to be interested. Or they could trade Grubauer’s negotiation rights before re-signing him, which might have a handsome return on its own.
Per Chris Cerullo, Martin Jones‘ rights were traded from Boston to San Jose for a first-round pick in 2015. Frederick Andersen’s rights got Anaheim the 30th overall pick from Toronto in 2016 and a second-round pick in 2017. Grubauer’s numbers are better than Jones’ and Andersen’s. He’s worth a first rounder — if the Caps act fast.
The Islanders will have lots of cap space even after (if?) they sign John Tavares. They select 11th and 12th. The Hurricanes have even more space, but they only have the second pick in the first round and will not select again until 42nd.
This could move quickly. The draft is in nine days, and the Caps are just now getting serious about their offseason decisions. Whatever happens and wherever he goes, Grubauer will be missed in DC.
— Daniel Filler (@danielwfiller) June 13, 2018
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