Friday, June 06, 2008

How Secure Is The Ground For Goaltending?

If the Capitals have an issue before the season ended, it was they had three capable goaltenders fighting for a spot in the crease. After it ended, the field was whittled down to just one. Brent Johnson is the only sure thing for next year since he has a year remaining on his contract. But where the Capitals had two, now look as if they have none.

As Japer was kind enough to point out the silence that was heard 'round Caps nation, not even Bruce Boudreau is sure where management is heading in the puck stopping department. So if Olie Kolzig is out and the team is unsure they will get Cristobal Huet back, then who will be there?

No disrespect for Johnson, but he is not a number one goaltender in the NHL. He is a capable backup and a good person. Johnny has even improved his numbers from a year ago, which shows maturity in his game, but can he do it for 50 to 60 games a year?

There is certainly some talent down the line, Simeon Varlomov played well for Team Russia at the World Championship, but he lacks NHL experience not to mentioned he was injured early in the tournament. Michal Nuevirth is another young talent that just doesn't look ready to be a back up in Hershey let alone a number one in the NHL. If the Caps can't keep Olie and lose Huet their troubles in net may not be something that settles itself out for another 2 to 3 years.

Perhaps George McPhee was counting on getting Huet at his $2.75 million price tag. But Huet played well enough to replace Kolzig's receipts at a $5 million or better goaltender. I mean going 11-2 with a 1.63 GAA and .936 save percentage down the most important stretch for the Capitals, he clearly proved his was apt to be a number one goaltender that is looking to win.

But with a slew of RFA's to resign and convincing a few UFA's to stay, that leaves little room in the cap. And GMGM working at his own slow pace to resign, the collective Caps fan core seems a bit nervous at all these questions now coming up concerning the most important position, goaltending.

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