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6 reasons fans should not expect Braden Holtby to take a hometown discount on his next contract

6 reasons fans should not expect Braden Holtby to take a hometown discount on his next contract

One of the biggest stories of the Washington Capitals’ offseason is over a contract that does not even expire until 2020. Braden Holtby is entering the final year of his current deal and should be due a substantial the Caps will likely be unable to afford.

There are many Holtby fans out there who seem to think a hometown discount is all but guaranteed. He doesn’t care about money and he likes it in Washington so much he will be happy to take whatever the Caps can give him!

Holtby has made it clear in May that he would like to stay in Washington and he certainly could choose to take less than he is worth to help the team...slightly less. That is his prerogative, but there’s a limit. To think he is going to take a massive discount and leave several million dollars per year on the table seems unrealistic.

And there is nothing wrong with that. A professional hockey career is very short and players have to take advantage when they have the chance. Holtby has established himself as one of the top netminders in the NHL and there is nothing wrong with trying to cash in on that if that is what Holtby chooses to do.

If you are someone who believes “he has made enough money! He should be fine taking a minimum deal to stay with the team!” then this article is not for you. Enjoy your fantasy land where players do not care about getting paid for doing their jobs and feel free to check back in when the season starts and all the talk of money and contracts is over.

For the rest of you, here are six reasons why fans should not simply assume Holtby is going to be taking a massive hometown discount. with Washington.

Holtby took the Caps in arbitration in 2015

Think Holtby doesn’t care about his contract? Well, he did in 2015. He filed for arbitration when he and the team remained far apart in contract negotiations. The process went so far that Holtby and the team actually had his arbitration hearing before finally reaching an agreement before the arbitrator made his ruling.

Holtby had to scratch and claw to get a five-year contract worth $30.5 million for a $6.1 million cap hit. Since then, Holtby has won a Vezina Trophy, a William M. Jennings Trophy and a Stanley Cup.

But yeah, I'm sure he won't care what his next contract pays.

A really close comparable

Ultimately the market will dictate a player’s worth, but comparable contracts are a good way to estimate what a player can get paid. Sometimes it can be hard to find a perfect comparable, but that is not the case for Holtby.

Sergey Bobrovsky just signed a seven-year, $70 million contract in July with the Florida Panthers and it just so happens that he is the perfect comparable to Holtby.

Holtby will be 30 when his contract expires, the same age Bobrovsky is now. Here’s a look at how they compare statistically:

Bobrovsky: 2.46 GAA, .919 save percentage, 33 shutouts, two Vezina Trophies
Holtby: 2.47 GAA, .918 save percentage, 35 shutouts, one Vezina Trophy

That’s pretty close...until you look at their playoff numbers.

Bobrovsky: 11-18 record, 3.14 GAA, .902 save percentage, no shutouts
Holtby: 48-41 record, 2.09 GAA, .928 save percentage, seven shutouts, one Stanley Cup

If anything, Holtby is worth more than Bobrovsky. Convincing him to take several million dollars less per year than a goalie he directly compares to is going to be a really tough sell.


We have talked a lot about Bobrovsky’s contract this summer because, as the top free-agent goalie available, he has set the market with his new deal. Holtby is one of the best goalies in the world and will arguably be the best goalie on the market in 2020. HIs deal will be what every other goalie is compared to. If he takes a massive discount, it will really hurt the negotiations of every other goalie in need of a new deal.

You want $7 million per year? That’s what Holtby got and he is a Vezina and Cup-winner. You’re not as good.

How Holtby’s new contract affects everyone else is arguably not his problem, but let’s assume that Holtby actually cares about other people. Taking a deal worth $6 or $7 million per year would significantly impact other free agent goalies. When you are part of a union and are messing with the future salaries of other players, you can at least expect to have a conversation with someone from the union over what accepting less will mean for other goalies around the league.

No no-movement

No-movement clauses were a big topic of conversation in 2017 when the NHL held an expansion draft for Vegas. Teams were obligated to protect players with no-movement clauses from the draft. This caused a panic among some general managers, but not the Caps. No one on the team had a no-movement clause so it was not an issue.

Fast-forward to 2019 and once again, no one on the roster has a no-movement clause. There are several players with no-trade clauses, but none with no-movement. It just does not seem to be something that the Caps give out.

When you add in the fact that the team’s top prospect, Ilya Samsonov, is a goalie, then it seems like there is virtually no shot that Holtby gets a no-movement clause.

Why does that matter?

Because there is another expansion draft in 2021. If Holtby is going to sign a long-term deal with a team, it would presumably be because he wants to stay with that team and in that city for the length of the contract. A starting caliber goalie like Holtby will certainly be an attractive candidate for Seattle in the net expansion draft, especially after seeing the success Marc-Andre Fleury has had in Vegas.

With Seattle looming and Samsonov in the organization, it is not unreasonable to think Holtby will want some sort of guarantee that if he signs in Washington, he will stay in Washington. Given their track record and the fact that Samsonov is considered the future of the team, however, Holtby is unlikely to get a no-movement clause with the Caps.

In a contract negotiation, everything affects the bottom-line. If Holtby wants a no-movement clause, and there is every reason to believe he would given the circumstances, if he doesn’t get one, that will have to translate to the Caps giving him more money. It’s a trade-off.

It is a lot to ask to expect Holtby to accept less money and no no-movement clause.

This will be his last big deal

Holtby will turn 30 in September. He is in his prime now, but he won’t be by the time this deal expires. This is going to be Holtby’s last time to cash-in and his value is never going to be this high again. Every year is going to push him further into his 30s making the last years of a long-term deal more of a question mark.

This is the time for Holtby to max out the money and the term. There’s no time for a “take a team-friendly deal now and we’ll totally take care of you on the next contract" type of deal.

Human nature

Whatever your job may be, no one likes to see someone else get paid more than you if you do a better job. It is human nature and a feeling we can all relate to. Just because Holtby’s new deal may include a few more zeros and commas than most people does not mean that human nature no longer applies.

You may think paying $10 million a year for a goalie is crazy. Yet, a 30-year-old goalie with similar stats and no Cup just got paid that and he also got a no-movement clause. Why would anyone assume Holtby would ask for less than that?


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Capitals Goal of the Year Bracket: Ovi Dangles Canes with Wilson vs Ovi Slapshot

Capitals Goal of the Year Bracket: Ovi Dangles Canes with Wilson vs Ovi Slapshot

With less than a month before training camp opens in mid-September, we are taking one last look back at the 2018-19 season as we dive into the best goals of last year. We compiled our bracket based on the cumulative rankings of our Capitals team, from reporters to producers and everyone in between, and now is your turn to help us determine the best Capitals goal of 2018-19. Below is a Slack conversation between members of the Capitals content team.

jmurph: Alright everyone, our bracket starts today with the 1 vs 16 matchup. Alex Ovechkin factoring heavily into both goals. Our #1 rated goal of the season was Ovi's incredible effort in Game 7 against the Hurricanes to set up Tom Wilson and the #16 seed is a vintage Ovi slapper off a faceoff from February 21 against the Leafs. Let's start in on Goal #1, what makes this the best goal of the season?

JJ Regan: Alex Ovechkin's entire career has been full of jaw-dropping moments. Some times we can take that for granted, but what he did in Game 7 was absolutely phenomenal and I can say, without hyperbole, that the play he made to set up Tom Wilson was one of the best plays I have seen Ovechkin make in his entire career.

Ryan Billie: How about the fact that he literally did EVERYTHING on that Wilson goal?

Rob Carlin: The Wilson goal in the playoffs was sick. Ovi was magical with the puck. And it was a big goal - at the moment. But now that’s just part of a bad memory. Give me Ovi one-timers from 40’feet directly into my veins. I go with the ovi extended hours from his office

jmurph: Wow Rob, going for the UMBC takedown on the opening day

JJ Regan: I love the Ovechkin one-timer...but how many times have we seen him score goals exactly like that? The effort to setup Wilson is an all-time highlight even if the Caps ultimately lost that game.

Ryan Billie: Yeah, that’s a surprise. I don’t think the circumstances of the game take away from the fact it was an outrageous effort. One of the best I’ve ever seen.

Rob Carlin: Yes! Sorry Wahoo Wa. Find me 5 guys who score on that shot.

jmurph: Effort aside, was the goal good?

Ryan Billie: Find me 5 dudes that make that play to Wilson.

JJ Regan: That is really the only argument. The play to setup the goal was great...but was the goal itself?

bmcnally: The goal is still sick. Credit to Wilson for realizing Ovi is playing like he's in a video game and shading away from goal a bit to give him the space to finish the pass

jmurph: Going back to the slapshot, it's crazy how we just think that it's normal to be able to do that with such ease because we've seen Ovi do it so many times

Rob Carlin: The goal was sick. I remember literally jumping out of my seat. Just don’t penalize a 40 foot slap shot just because he’s scored 400 of those.

timmcdonough: the Ovi effort immediately reminded me of the behind-the-back off-the-wall goal against Montreal.. which some people say is his best ever. Plus, nothing better than an Ovechkin rush at home where the entire crowd is standing before the puck hits the net

Ryan Billie: ^^^

bmcnally: That really was a great :"Roman Hamrlik" goal call back from 2009

Rob Carlin: TMac from the top rope! That’s a solid argument

bmcnally: The only real difference is this time he stayed on his feet and had someone with him

JJ Regan: Plus, he didn't actually score the goal, it was Wilson.

Ryan Billie: And it’s crazy, because when Ovi is open for a slap shot, you can feel the air get let out of the arena because you know what’s coming... every time he touches the puck, you just never know what’s gonna happen.

JJ Regan: There is something to be said about how incredible it is that everyone knows what Ovechkin is about to do and you just can't stop it.

jmurph: JJ are you leaning towards Rob on this one? Voting for a 16-1 upset right off the bat?

JJ Regan: Absolutely not. Just giving credit where credit is due. The Ovechkin one-timer is great, but the set up on Wilson's goal is better. An all-time highlight in a highlight career.

Rob Carlin: That’s my argument, JJ. It’s been done 400 times. Yet no one can stop it. When his stick goes up, just waiting, the excitement builds. Every time. He scored this one from 42 feet away. With no screen. Sick.

timmcdonough: I will say this about the other goal... people don’t realize how much preparation and coordination goes into scoring that fast off a faceoff. Clean win, quick pass, off-balance rocket, all in like 3.7 seconds

Ryan Billie: It’s the equivalent of a Steph Curry deep 3. We’re so used to them now they don’t seem special. But they are.

jmurph: I love me some Nic Dowd backhand sauce for 40 feet but I think the Ovi slapper got the shaft here on our list coming in at 16 against an all-timer

Rob Carlin: I’m not dying on this hill. That goal vs Carolina was all world. As Johnny said in the video, he almost threw me off the balcony when it happened. I just love Ovi one timers from way downtown.

JJ Regan: Don't bust my bracket on the first goal! Give me Ovechkin to Wilson!

bmcnally: Yeah I'm definitely going for the playmaking goal with Wilson. It's just so ridiculous someone that size can do that. But before we bury the slapper just wanted to give it the respect it deserves. It's a 16 seed that took the 1 seed deep into the second half before fading

Ryan Billie: Is Carlin pulling a Homer and backing into the bushes??

JJ Regan: That is well done

Rob Carlin: I’m basically just a lawyer in a trial who knows he’s gonna lose but wants his point on record and in the minds of the jury.

jmurph: So it seems like we are all in agreement, if this #16 Ovi slapper comes up against most goals, it might get the nod, but not on this day. Chalk it up and #1 moves on.

Ryan Billie: Not just moves on... but covers as well.


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Metropolitan Division Outlook 2019-20: The New York Rangers

Metropolitan Division Outlook 2019-20: The New York Rangers

The Capitals enter the 2019-20 season looking for their fifth consecutive Metropolitan Division title.

But this could be the most challenging year yet. The bottom of the division has improved dramatically with offseason moves and the top of the division still has quality teams. It’s hard to figure who will crater and finish last. The winning team might not top 100 points.

For the next two weeks, NBC Sports Washington will take a look at each Metro team and where they stand with training camps opening in less than a month. Today: The New York Rangers.

In February 2018, the Rangers did a very un-Rangers-like thing. The team sent a letter to their fans declaring the plan to rebuild the team. Now just over a year later, it did not take long for New York to make a splash in the offseason again.

The Rangers landed the prize of free agency in Artemi Panarin, added free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, drafted Kaapo Kakko with the second-overall pick in the draft and traded for prospect defenseman Adam Fox. They also managed to avoid a restricted free agent standoff with Pavel Buchnevich.

All these moves combined put the Rangers among the most improved teams in the league. It did not take long, but New York was able to shift its team from a group of veterans not good enough to compete for a Stanley Cup to a team full of youth and potential.

The future certainly looks brighter for this team in the future than it previously had, but despite all the improvements there are still plenty of questions about the present roster.

While New York certainly got younger, star goalie Henrik Lundqvist did not.

Lundqvist had an up-and-down season last year. His first half of last season was good enough to get him to the All-Star Game. He struggled in the latter half of the season and finished with a save percentage of only .907 and a GAA of 3.07. He is not a goalie who seems to do well taking a backseat, but Alexander Georgiev played well enough to earn more playing time. All of this makes it difficult to determine just what the split between the two netminders is going to be heading into this season.

In front of the crease, the additions of Trouba and Fox look like they will give the Rangers two new top-four defenseman to plug in. That should certainly help a team that ranked 23rd in the NHL last season in goals against per game with 3.26 and could potentially take some of the pressure off Lundqvist.

Mika Zibanejad returns as the team’s top center after what was easily his best season in the NHL with career highs in goals, assists and points. He was seen as a second-line center going into last season, but certainly took advantage of the larger role offered by New York. The concerns over whether he can handle a top-line role may not be as prevalent as last year, but I still seem him as a poor man's No. 1 center.

The offense is also likely to lose some of its depth before the start of the season due to salary cap constraints.

The Rangers sit with just $1 million remaining in projected cap space and still have RFAs Brendan Lemieux and Anthony Deangelo left to sign. When looking into what the team's options are for freeing up space, you have to wonder if players like Chris Kreider and Vladislav Namestnikov -- who are both entering the final year of their contracts -- could both be moved before the summer is over.

Panarin is a great addition and undeniably a superstar, but he cannot carry a team by himself. When he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and became the offensive focal point of the team, he was only able to lead the Blue Jackets to a single playoff series win in his two seasons there. That was a much deeper team than the Rangers appear to be if they should lose Kreider or Namestnikov.

Money decisions will continue to loom over this team even after a decision is made on those players. The cap situation was dire enough that the Rangers bought out the remaining two years of Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract. While he was underperforming, the combined buyouts of Shattenkirk, Dan Girardi and Ryan Spooner will leave New York with $5,394,444 of dead cap space in 2019-20 and nearly $7.5 million of dead cap space in 2020-21. These are not just bad contracts that can be packaged in a trade and sent away, that is dead cap space that the team is stuck with. That is a massive amount for a team that sure looks like it wants to compete for the playoffs sooner rather than later.

You still have to count the Rangers among the most improved teams this offseason, but the hill they had to climb and still must continue to climb may have been much steeper than many anticipated. There is still a lot of work left to do in Manhattan.