Will Holtby live up to the expectations?

DSC_0250Photo: Tim Horsey

We all remember how great Holtby was last postseason, but is he the real deal? Honestly, I’m not sold.

Remember that time that a young Russian netminder by the name of Semyon Varlamov came up from Hershey to bail out the Caps in a best of seven series in the first round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers? If so, then remember how the Caps eventually lost game seven in round two of the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins?

Or how about that time that a promising young goaltender by the name of Michal Neuvirth earned a full time roster spot with the Caps after coming off of winning back-to-back Calder Cup championships in the AHL, even winning playoff MVP one of those years? Yeah, the one that, like Varlamov, helped the Caps eliminate the Rangers in round one of the playoffs. Then, again similarly to Varlamov, Neuvy and the Caps were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after they were swept, repeat SWEPT, by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Enter Braden Holtby, a young goalie called up from Hershey at the end of last season to bail out an injury plagued goaltending tandem for the Caps just before the playoffs started. Riding a hot streak, he was named the Caps starting goalie for the playoffs. In round one of the playoffs, Holtby held the Caps in an extremely close series against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. After seven games, Holtby and the Caps took down last year’s playoff MVP Tim Thomas and his Boston Bruins. The Caps then faced the New York Rangers for the third time in four seasons. After losing the past two times these teams met in the playoffs, the Rangers finally would beat the Caps in seven games and eliminate them from the playoffs in the second round of the playoffs.

This narrative sounds all too familiar.

Oh, did I mention that goalie prospect Philipp Grubauer looks very promising down in the minors?

By no means does this account of the Caps recent history with goaltending prospects mean that Holtby is destined to become just another forgotten prospect. It’s probably safe to say that everyone hopes for the best with Holtby. However, a look at the past should show Caps fans that getting excited too early or expecting too much might just leave them disappointed, frustrated, or at least laughable to other fans.

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Posted on January 19, 2013, in Banter from the Nosebleeds and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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