Connect with us

NHL Trades and Rumors

[Rumor] Braden Holtby’s Time In Washington All-But Done?

Is Braden Holtby’s time in Washington coming to an end? We take a look at the likelihood he sticks with the Capitals.

TSN and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting on the latest edition of TSN Insider Trading there has been little in the way of contract talks between the Washington Capitals and either Nicklas Backstrom or Braden Holtby.

While Backstrom is the type of player Washington won’t want to let go considering his consistent play and offensive production, Holtby’s future with the team might not be as clear.

In Washington, where Holtby is set to become an unrestricted free agent, he’s struggled over the course of the last season and change. While he’s had moments of greatness, (like the overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday), his position as starter isn’t completely secure with Ilya Samsonov gaining traction as the future No. 1 netminder.

LeBrun is reporting that the Capitals plan to be patient in their talks with the veteran netminder. The game plan seems to be, let the season play out, see how Holtby fares over the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign and ensure he’s worth the premium investment it will likely take to re-sign him.

Even if Holtby is willing to re-sign at a team-friendly discount — which he likely is — the Caps aren’t exactly a team that can afford to spend unwisely. If Samsonov is ready and Holtby will be expensive, the latter of the two might be a luxury the team can’t afford.

Washington has $63.5 million tied up in just 14 contracts for next season. Wiggle room will be hard to come by and Backstrom won’t come cheap, even if his intention is to finish his career alongside Alex Ovechkin.

Contract Talk Affecting Holtby’s Game?

With Holtby often playing below his typical top-tier goalie standard, speculation is that the looming need to get an extension done is weighing on him. On Thursday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman wrote in his weekly “31 Thoughts” column that Capitals GM Brian MacLellan didn’t think Holtby’s contract situation was affecting him, but it’s hard to imagine it’s not in the back of his mind.

MacLellan said, “We spoke at the beginning of the year… It might be affecting him, but my interpretation is it is not.” He added that Holtby seems to go through periods where he gets a little off. “He’s trying to improve his game and he’s trying certain things, maybe they don’t work as quick[ly] as possible,” McLellan explained. But he added, “He always seems to be able to recover and we anticipate him playing at a high level soon.”

What If It Doesn’t?

Should Holtby’s game not get back to where it once was, the Caps have a difficult decision on their hands. Just 30, it’s not as if Holtby is coming to the end of his NHL career. One year deals seem unlikely. That said, he appears to be on the back-nine of his NHL career and Samsonov is nipping at his heels.

Perhaps, by the end of this season, the Capitals decide to move Holtby in an effort to spend their hard-to-come-by dollars in another place.

Next: [Rumor] Edmonton Oilers Interested In Brendan Perlini?

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More News

Discover more from NHL Trade Talk

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading