The Washington Capitals have agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with Dan Ellis, per the team’s website.
Ellis is a veteran of 212 career NHL games. The 35-year-old netminder posted a 2.35 GAA and .914 save percentage in eight contests with the Florida Panthers in 2014-15. He also had a 2.71 GAA and .904 save percentage in 37 AHL contests.
He’ll probably start the campaign competing for playing time in the minors with another veteran goaltender in Justin Peters. Meanwhile 25-year-old Braden Holtby and 23-year-old Philipp Grubauer are projected to begin the 2015-16 season as the Capitals’ starting and backup netminders respectively.
Due in part to the youth of the Capitals’ top two goalies, the projected AHL tandem has logged more NHL games than their Washington counterparts.
Washington has already had a busy summer with the signing of Justin Williams and acquisition of T.J. Oshie, but the team isn’t finished yet. It still needs to come to terms with restricted free agents Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Holtby.
The Washington Capitals locked up one half of their future goaltending tandem on Monday, inking Philipp Grubauer to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
The contract is of the one-way variety and carries an average annual cap hit of $750,000. Per Caps GM Brian MacLellan, Grubauer will earn $650,000 in the first year of the deal, and $850,000 in the second.
The 23-year old German has appeared in 20 career games with the Capitals, going 7-6-5 with a 2.44 GAA and .924 save percentage. While the club signed Justin Peters last year to serve as Holtby’s backup, it was clear the organization was higher on Grubauer when, during the playoffs, he got the call to replace an under-the-weather Holtby in Game 2 of the Islanders series.
With today’s deal, it’s all but guaranteed Peters is done in D.C. — but since he has one year left on his deal, he’ll likely spend next season in AHL Hershey.
The next bit of goaltending business for MacLellan and the Caps will be to get Holtby signed. A pending RFA, Holtby is coming of a career-best year and will probably get a sizable raise off the $1.85M he made annually on his last deal.
Bit of an interesting move in Washington today — the Caps sent Philipp Grubauer, who won an emergency start for the ailing Braden Holtby in Game 2 against the Isles, back to AHL Hershey.
Grubauer, 23, stopped 18 shots to earn his first career playoff win — in his first playoff start — a victory that proved crucial for the Caps as they went the full seven games before finally dispatching of New York. Grubauer was given the nod ahead of Holtby’s usual backup, Justin Peters, because he’d been playing regularly at the AHL level — opposed to Peters, who hasn’t seen game action since Mar. 28.
It remains to be seen how long Grubauer will be in Hershey. Barry Trotz kept him up for the duration of the Isles series after the Game 2 win, saying the German ‘tender had “earned” the opportunity to stick around. Today’s demotion will also allow Grubauer to participate in Hershey’s first-round Calder Cup playoff series, but also be nearby for a call-up; Washington opens its series with the Rangers on Thursday, then plays Game 2 at MSG on Saturday.