Originally written on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 6/4/12

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals warms up before playing the New York Rangers on February 4, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the 2011-12 season has come to a close, the time has come to evaluate what it meant for the Capitals, both as a team and as individuals.  As such, as the summer progresses, I will be writing a report card, or individual evaluation, for each player who played in 9 (~10%) of the team's games, or 4 playoff games. Next up is goaltender Braden Holtby, who finished his third professional season in the Capitals' organization on this past campaign.

Season Summary: Holtby struggled down in Hershey bigtime at the beginning of this season, putting up poor numbers through the first half of the year.  When he was called up to DC in February, he was hammered to the tune of five goals on 35 shots against San Jose, but just like last year, his second recall was much more successful.  Pressed in to action because of injuries and poor performances, Holtby collected seven of a possible ten points in the games he started in March and April and helped get the Capitals to the playoffs.  Overall, he finished with a 4-2-1 record, 2.50 goals against average, .922 save percentage, and one shutout in seven games (six starts). Grade: B+

Role Play: In the regular season, Holtby did just about everything you could ask from a rookie.  With the exception of two games, he was more than solid in regular season action and helped Washington pick up critical points in big games down the stretch.  I don't know what else you could want from a guy who entered the season third on the organizational goaltending depth chart.  Though he didn't play many games, his impact was significant when his team needed him - something Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun cannot say. Grade: A

Playoffs: Again forced to start because of injuries, Holtby shocked the hockey world by carrying the Capitals almost singlehandedly to a victory over the Cup champion Bruins and pushing the top-seeded Rangers to seven games.  In his 14 postseason starts, Holtby recorded a 7-7 record, 1.95 GAA, and .935 save percentage, great numbers for anyone, but especially a rookie against the East's top two teams.  He was mortal at times, such as game one against New York, but in the end, he was the reason the Caps got as far as they did with some highlight-reel saves and steady, consistent play.  I was very impressed, once again, with his play. Grade: A+

Future Potential: Despite his exceptional playoffs, Holtby should not be the number one goalie next year, nor is his performance a reason to trade Michal Neuvirth.  Make no mistake: Holtby is a supremely talented goalie and he has excelled at the NHL level.  But the sophomore slump will almost surely come, like it does with all young goalies, and with 35 games of NHL experience, I am not ready to give Holtby a 60 game workload over the course of a full season.  You shouldn't either.  He may prove me wrong, but he and Neuvirth should fight it out for starts until a number one is decided upon near the playoffs.  Nevertheless, he is a special talent and I think he will be a very good goalie at this level, as do many scouts. Grade: A

The next report card will feature winger Jason Chimera.

As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vin Scully will return to the Dodgers in 2016

Rob Gronkowski’s younger brother, Glenn, trying to make NFL as fullback

Michael Bennett fined over $17K for nasty hit on Alex Smith

Cam Cameron battling prostate cancer

RG3 to be held out 1-2 weeks after doctor changes mind

LA Kings offer Peter Budaj a professional tryout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carlos Boozer hoping roster spot opens on playoff team

Starting EJ Manuel not a bad idea for Bills’ third preseason game

Tim Beckman fired by Illinois amid mistreatment allegations

Chip Kelly reveals thought process behind Bradford trade

Charles Barkley on ex-agent: ‘I’d blow his damn brains out’

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to care if Nationals make playoffs

NFL admits communication breakdown in Pats-Saints game

WATCH: TJ Yeldon gets crushed in brutal goal-line collision

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Jonathan Kraft: Patriots haven’t apologized to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen

Ballmer declines $60M/yr TV deal, could start streaming

Nationals forced to re-issue massive bobblehead order

Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat

Spieth: New irons the reason for missed cut at Barclays?

Opening Drive: Where have all the great UM tailbacks gone?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Andy Reid perfect play: 'That’s like a good cheeseburger'

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

10 NFL players set for down seasons in 2015

Why NFL preseason games matter

August's winners and losers in sports

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker