No. 10: Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals
This one may ruffle some feathers, but let’s look at the big picture in Washington. While Holtby is having a season that will probably earn him the Vezina Trophy, would the Capitals still be a success with a lesser goaltender in net? The answer is yes, right now.
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Holtby’s teammates are filling opposing nets like they’re afraid it’s going out of style, tallying about 3.37 goals per game. They have three guys with 40-plus points, five with 30-plus, nine with 20-plus and 15 with 11-plus. You can’t say this team would utterly fail with a Devan Dubnyk/Antti Niemi/current Pekka Rinne in net instead of Holtby.
And yet …
The stats are just hard to ignore: 30 wins in 38 starts, .930 save percentage, 2.01 goals-against average, two shuouts. Holtby has been a big part of his team steamrolling the rest of the East, no matter how much help he’s had from his teammates. But at the end of the day, while the Vezina Trophy is certainly his to lose, he’s at the back of a short list of goaltenders for the Hart Trophy.