/The Washington Capitals: A goaltending hotbed of past, present, and future

The Washington Capitals: A goaltending hotbed of past, present, and future

One of the things that the Washington Capitals’ organization does the best is develop goaltenders. Since 1997, the team has had some very noteworthy goaltenders, and are looking forward to having one of the most sought-after Russian prospects of the last few years as a potential future netminder. Though not all of their respective teams may have been very good, some of these former Capitals will be remembered for years to come.

Olaf Kolzig

Olie the goalie played at least one game for Washington every year from the 1992-93 season all the way to the 2007-08 season. In seasons with more than twenty games played, Kolzig posted a 2.69 Goals Against Average and a .907 Save Percentage. Though he never won a Stanley Cup (which Caps’ goalie has?), Kolzig did crest the 300-win mark for Washington, registering 301 wins in 711 games played with the team.

Jose Theodore

After missing out on his prime years in Montreal, Washington utilized the skills of Jose Theodore for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. In these two seasons, Theodore played 104 games, winning 62 of them, and recording a 2.84 GAA and a .906 SV%. Theodore carried Washington to the playoffs both years, the first of which saw them be eliminated in the second round by Pittsburgh, and the second of which saw Theodore and the Capitals lose to his former team, Montreal, in the first round.

Semyon Varlamov

Semyon Varlamov was never a true starting goaltender for Washington, but he certainly showed flashes of that potential in his time with the team. From 2008 to 2011, Varlamov played 59 games, winning 30. He earned a .914 SV% and a 2.46 GAA, and become one of the more sought after young goalies in the league. As a result of the league-wide interest, the Caps traded his rights to Colorado in exchange for one first and one second round draft pick. For three years following his departure from Washington, Varlamov was considered to be an elite goaltender in the NHL, until his play began to drop off in 2016.

Tomas Vokoun

Despite playing only one season in Washington, it is hard to leave Tomas Vokoun off of this list. Vokoun was not a goaltender that the Caps organization developed themselves, but he was a fantastic goaltender for a very long time. Even though he came to Washington after his prime concluded, his play was still very strong. In his one season with the team, he won 25 of 48 games, with a 2.51 GAA and a .916 SV%, once again leading the team to the playoffs. However, Vokoun got injured and could not play in the 2012 playoffs, carving the way for a young goaltender by the name of Braden Holtby to get his first true NHL chance.

Braden Holtby

Already seen as one of, if not the best, Capitals goaltender of all time, Braden Holtby has been a true superstar since his emergence in Washington. In his 336 games, Holtby has won 212, has posted a .921 SV% and registered a 2.34 GAA. Holtby has not only put up the best numbers of any Capitals netminder, but has put up some of the best in the league. In 2015-16, he was the Vezina Trophy winner, and he has been in the race for it every year since 2014. The only piece of hardware missing for the Holtbeast is a Stanley Cup ring.

Ilya Samsonov

Ilya Samsonov is looking more and more like the future in net for the Caps. Currently playing in the KHL, Samsonov has a career .926 SV% and 2.29 GAA in three seasons thus far. As soon as next season, Samsonov could find himself in the Capitals organization and competing for the backup position behind Philipp Grubauer and, before we know it, he could be taking over as the starting netminder for Washington.