Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth still has ambitions of being a number one goaltender in the NHL, but he’s arguably Washington’s third-string netminder due to the rise of 22-year-old rookie Philipp Grubauer.
Neuvirth expressed his frustrations a little over a week ago and hinted at his desire to be traded. Now his agent, Patrik Stefan, is being more direct. He wants his client dealt so that he can get a fresh start, according to ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
It will be interesting to see how Washington responds. For one thing, they might be hesitant to move Neuvirth before Grubauer has had more time to prove himself. After all, Grubauer’s 2-1 shootout loss to Buffalo last night was just his 11th career NHL contest.
There’s also the question of whether not the Capitals can ship Neuvirth even if they wanted to. He’s still just 25 years old and his $2.5 million annual cap hit through 2014-15 isn’t excessive, but it’s more than most teams want to pay a backup goaltender and he still hasn’t firmly established that he can carry a squad as a starter. On top of that, teams tend to be reluctant to acquire a goaltender midseason on the trade market unless they are in dire need.
At the same time, this request puts the Capitals in an awkward situation. They now have two players that want out, including Martin Erat. Finding a way to put these situations behind them might be in the Capitals’ best interests.