When we last saw Braden Holtby, he was shaking hands with his conquerors, the New York Rangers, after a hard fought seven-game series. The 22-year-old rookie phenom had come within a goal of leading the Washington Capitals back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998.
It did not happen, of course. But that does not diminish the fantastic playoff run that Holtby had in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Holtby outplayed Tim Thomas, matched Henrik Lundqvist save-for-save, and only the eventual Conn Smythe winner, Jonathan Quick of the new Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, really stands out to me as someone who played better than Holtby
Without question, Braden Holtby has earned the right to go into the 2012-2013 as the Caps number one goaltender.
I myself am firmly entrenched on the Braden Holtby bandwagon. I believe he is the real deal.
Nevertheless, as is often the case with the Caps, there are signs and warnings in several places that strongly suggest that the Caps would be unwise to place all their trust in Braden Holtby.
I went back and really looked closely at how Holtby played in the playoffs, and I noticed some weaknesses in his game that should cause the Caps a definite level of concern—and give their new coach, along with Olaf Kölzig, something to work on with Holtby in the offseason.
There are also some general observations I have made that further demonstrate that before Caps fans start banking everything on the idea that Braden Holtby will be next year's Jonathan Quick, they may want to reconsider.
Here are four reasons why the Caps can't trust Braden Holtby in goal—at least not completely.