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Past Fantasy Outlooks
It's safe to say that no goalie across the NHL experienced a wilder 2017-18 campaign than Holtby. A perennial Vezina Trophy contender coming in, he finished the regular season with a career-worst 2.99 GAA and .907 save percentage, tainting an otherwise respectable 34-16-4 record. In a shocking development, Holtby was even stationed on the bench to start the playoffs. Not only would he reclaim his crease in short order, but the Saskatchewan native backstopped Washington to its long-awaited Stanley Cup win. With Grubauer now in Colorado and a rookie in Pheonix Copley likely to claim his spot, Holtby's grasp on the starter's job is once again secure. However, the Capitals lost celebrated goalie coach Mitch Korn and chief bench boss Barry Trotz to the Islanders, making it even tougher to predict which version of Holtby will show up this year.
Holtby gave himself a tough act to follow by putting up an NHL-record-tying 48 victories and winning a Vezina Trophy in 2015-16, but he actually managed to one-up himself last year, which is quite an achievement. He notched new personal bests (not counting his 14-game rookie stint) with a 2.07 GAA and .925 save percentage, along with a career-high-tying nine shutouts, even though he “only” won 42 games… and the William M. Jennings Trophy. Just 28 years old entering the 2017-18 campaign, he’s still got a lot of elite-level production ahead of him, and it certainly doesn't hurt that he plays behind a Capitals team that continues to retain a veteran core (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson) in its prime. There’s no reason to think Holtby won't post a fourth straight season of 40-plus wins with a GAA of 2.22 or better and a save percentage in the .920s.
Sometimes less is more. Holtby should agree, as he started six fewer games last year than the previous season’s 72, but despite posting nearly identical ratios, he ended up with 48 wins, tying Martin Brodeur’s all-time NHL record and winning him a Vezina Trophy. What do you do for an encore to that performance? Almost any season is a disappointment by comparison, but Holtby is still as good as they come between the pipes, the top fantasy goalie not named Carey Price. One of the most innately competitive players in the entire sport, Holtby has a way of elevating his play for big games – even though the Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round, he finished the postseason with a 1.72 GAA and .942 save percentage. Those would be spectacular numbers for just about anyone, but they’re pretty much just the norm for Holtby in the playoffs. He deserves to have a Stanley Cup already for the way he’s played, but no worries; there’s plenty of time, as he’s only entering his age-27 campaign. With the Capitals’ high-flying offense in front of him, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the workhorse crack 40 wins for a third straight year.
Holtby is developing into a member of the NHL’s upper crust of goaltenders. He’s coming off a career year, having racked up 41 wins with a 2.22 GAA, .923 save percentage and nine shutouts in 73 games. That was enough to finish fourth in the Vezina voting, and Holtby took things to a whole new level in the postseason, ringing up a 1.71 GAA and .944 save percentage. Holtby’s talents have been unleashed by goalie coach Mitch Korn, who's helped the twinetender control his athleticism, improve his positioning and bring an effectiveness to his game that hadn’t previously been there. Holtby took to Korn’s unique training techniques like a duck to water, and it’s clear he’s just scratching the surface on his immense potential. This coming season will cement his spot among the league’s top five ‘tenders. And who knows, we might see his name among the top three in very short order.
While there is great debate about what the arrival of Barry Trotz means for many Caps players, Holtby is one player for whom the new regime will do wonders. For a supposed franchise goaltender, Holtby has been looking over his shoulder a great deal over the past couple of seasons. He looked to have been displaced by youngster Philipp Grubauer and trade deadline acquisition Jaroslav Halak at different points last season, but he’ll once again enter 2014-15 with a hold on the No. 1 job. With the arrival of Trotz and goalie guru Mitch Korn, the organization has firmly committed to Holtby. Trotz and Korn have worked wonders for goalies in the past, and although the Caps have a way to go to provide Holtby with the kind of structure Predators goalies could count on, the Saskatchewan native has all the tools to emerge as an elite fantasy goaltender. With a deeper defense in front of him and no one challenging his job from the bench, Holtby may be primed to have a breakout campaign.
Holtby comes into the 2013-2014 season as the Caps’ number-one choice in goal. His 23 wins were good for fourth in the league, and his 90 goals allowed put him 10th among NHL goalies. He struggled out of the gate, allowing three or more goals several times in the first month of the season, but he stepped up as the season progressed. He is not yet a top-tier goalie but is expected to get the majority of starts for Washington and would make a fine No. 2 for most fantasy teams. The Capitals defense was eighth in shots allowed when Holtby was in the net, which is concerning and may limit his win total this season.
Holtby was the new kid in town for the Caps last year and established himself as a formidable netminder in last Spring's playoffs. Filling in for injured Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth, Holtby played in 14 playoff games with a save percentage of .933. He was 7-7 in that time. Extrapolate Holtby’s playoff and regular season save percentages out, and he is in the top 5-6 net-minders in the league. It's unreasonable to conclude his playoff pace will sustain itself over a whole season, but Washington has a talented netminder here. With Vokoun gone, Holtby is the likely starter for the Caps. Holtby is unlikely to be flying off draft boards but managers in the know will tuck him away in the middle rounds.
Holtby will be the starter in AHL Hershey, due to the signing of veteran Tomas Vokoun. With the success he had when he got his chance last year, the organization was comfortable enough to trade away Semyon Varlamov. Holtby may be the most talented of what is now two young guys in net for Washington. He has taken AHL Hershey to the Calder Cup, and will fine-tune his skills again this year. In 14 career contests, he has an amazing 10-2-2 record, including two shutouts with a 1.79 goals against average and .934 save percentage. This kid may be special, so look for the team to make room for him on the roster no later than next season.
Holtby will be the starter in AHL Hershey as the two other young netminders get their shot. Depending on injury, Holtby may be back in the NHL this year, but possibly starting. He has the ability to become an NHL starter, but not sure if that will happen in Washington.
Holtby, a young netminder has played strong between the pipes for the WHL Saskatoon Blades. He was 40-16-4 last year and had an impressive 2.62 goals against average and .910 save percentage. With all the young goalie talent Washington has, Holtby should be back in the WHL this year. He still has a ways to go to make it to the big league, but the kid has the talent to do just that.