The NHL confirmed on Wednesday night what Washington and the rest of the hockey world already knew: Braden Holtby was the best goaltender in the NHL in 2015-16.
After matching Marty Brodeur’s single-season NHL record with 48 wins. Holtby won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, beating out Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.
“Holtby has put a lot of work in,” Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said. “He keeps developing and keeps getting better.
“It’s nice to see him get rewarded. He had a great season. All the work he’s done with Mitch (Korn) and all the things he learned before that has made him a more confident goalie and he’s getting rewarded for it here this week.”
Holtby, 26, went 48-9-7 during the regular season with a 2.20 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He also led all goaltenders in playoff goals against average (1.72) and save percentage (.942).
In his acceptabce speech, Holtby thanked all of his goaltending coaches, including Arturs Irbe, Olie Kolzig, Dave Prior and Mitch Korn, along with John Stevenson, who has helped mentor him throughout his career.
RELATED: TROTZ WINS JACK ADAMS
Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.
Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.
This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.
The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?
Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.
That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).
Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.
SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE
Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:
In contention for: Norris
Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.
In contention for: Hart
Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.
Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!