The Washington Capitals made it clear weeks before the start of the free agent period that they intended to enter the 2014-15 campaign with Braden Holtby as their number one goaltender. They proved that to him though when they decided to sign Justin Peters over some of veteran alternatives with experience as a starter.
“We talked about that a lot,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told CSN Washington. “A lot of it was we wanted to send the right message to Holtby.
“… I mean, if you bring in an older, experienced guy it’s going to cost us more money and it might have been a little more pressure on Holtby. We wanted to send a message to Holtby that he’s our No. 1 guy.”
MacLellan argued that he still got a good backup in Peters, who had a 2.50 GAA and .919 save percentage in 21 games with Carolina last season, but there’s no goalie controversy going into the season. That’s a bold move after Holtby struggled last season, which led to rookie call-up Philipp Grubauer stealing time from him and prompted the Capitals to acquire Jaroslav Halak.
Holtby felt his struggles were partially due to former head coach Adam Oates desire to have him play deeper in the crease and MacLellan has echoed that sentiment. Now the general manager is betting heavily on the idea that Holtby can bounce back.