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Braden Holtby & Ilya Samsonov

January 13, 2020, 2:11 PM ET [8 Comments]
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In the final year of his contract, Braden Holtby has been consistently inconsistent. Ilya Samsonov has been stellar in net in a majority of starts this season. There is no goalie controversy in DC but there is certainly a conversation going on about who gives us the best chance to win both now as well as the future. With the Capitals strapped for Cap Space and a couple other big contracts to get settled on the books for Backstrom and Ovi, this very well could be the final year for Holtby as a Capital. I wanted to take a quick look at how the two netminders have compared this season and what it means for the rest of the regular season and potentially playoffs.

First, lets take a look a month to month comparison for each guy:


Braden Holtby

GP - 10

SV% - .888

GAA - 3.55

Ilya Samsonov

GP - 5

SV% - .913

GAA – 2.46


Braden Holtby

GP - 10

SV% - .928

GAA – 2.24

Ilya Samsonov

GP - 4

SV% - .914

GAA - 2.73


Braden Holtby

GP - 8

SV% - .890

GAA – 3.18

Ilya Samsonov

GP - 5

SV% - .927

GAA - 1.71

January (through 01/12)

Braden Holtby

GP - 3

SV% - .868

GAA – 3.34

Ilya Samsonov

GP - 2

SV% - .941

GAA - 2.01


Braden Holtby

GP - 32

SV% - .899

GAA – 3.02

Ilya Samsonov

GP - 16

SV% - .921

GAA - 2.24

Basic stats (SV% and GAA) show Samsonov has clearly outperformed Holtby during the season so far. In addition, Samsonov has been more consistent. Holtby has been up and down month to month. He had a stellar November but has struggled mightily ever since. One thing I will also point out and I don’t have a stat to go with this but Holtby seems to frequently allow goals on the first or second shot of the game. I can think of three games off the top of my head (Avs, Blues, Devils) where he allowed a goal on the first or second shot of the game. I am sure there are more.

I am not going to sit here and say Holtby needs to be benched but I would like to see more of Samsonov in the second half of the season. Holtby has allowed four or more goals in four of his last six starts and five of his last ten. Yikes. After an ugly game on Saturday night against an inferior Devils team, Reirden has decided to go with Samsonov instead of Holtby in a feisty division matchup on home ice against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Capitals have lost four of their last five Metro division games. This start gives Samsonov and Holtby both equal starts at three a piece this year and could be an indicator of whats to come.

If Holtby continues to struggle, will Samsonov take over number one duties? Will Samsonov continue his great play? As the playoffs approach, who will be the starting goalie? It is certainly and obviously Holtby’s job to lose. He posts the 6th best playoff SV% of all time at .928. He is number 17 all time with 2.09 GAA. He now also has Stanley Cup championship experience as well. On paper, he should be next to unstoppable in the playoffs but that just hasn’t really seemed like the case the past year.

What do you think about the Capitals goaltending situation for the present and the future?

Thanks for Reading

Brian S
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