From Alzner to Varlamov, we're taking a look at and grading the 2008-09 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2009-10. Next up, Jose Theodore.
#60 / Goalie / Washington Capitals
Sep 13, 1976
Cap hit of $4,500,000 in 2009-10; UFA after the 2009-10 season.
Key Stat: Theodore had a 2.52 goals against average and a .913 save percentage between December 26th and Match 31st and a 3.41 goals against average and .871 save percentage the rest of the season.
Interesting Stat: Theodore's goals against average and save percentage in Caps wins were 2.12 and .924; in losses they were 3.99 and .867.
The Good: As the numbers above indicate, the consistently inconsistent Theodore was good for much of the middle of the season and struggled at the beginning and the end of the campaign. While his numbers from that stretch of quality play are, on a whole, solid but not spectacular, it's important to note that there were a number of times Theo carried the Capitals to victory: one-goal-against performances against the Flyers on January 6th and March 12th, a 23-saves-on-24-shots outing against Boston in January, and a 27 save night against the Red Wings on January 31st among them.
It also ought to be mentioned that Theodore took Bruce Boudreau's decision to start Simeon Varlamov about well as could be expected. Sure he got a little testy with reporters after being asked about the situation repeatedly, but ultimately Theodore's decision to accept his new role as cheerleader let the team avoid a potentially ugly locker room situation and focus on their task at hand.
The Bad: By the numbers "The Bad" of Theodore's season was pretty much October, November, December, and April, stretches that resulted in him finishing 36th of 46 qualifying goalies in goals against average and save percentage. Beyond the numbers there's the question of how much confidence Theo's teammates had in him by the time he was benched in the team's first round playoff series against the Rangers. Of course to those of us who aren't in the locker room it's pure speculation, but as soon as Varlamov skated out to take his place in net in Game Two you had to wonder if it was due in part to a team that didn't have faith in their netminder's ability, a question that became even more intriguing when the team seemed to play looser and more relaxed in front of Varlamov, despite his lack of NHL experience and youth.
The Vote: Rate Theodore below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: How actively, if at all, should the Capitals be shopping Theodore this offseason? Is it safe for the team to turn the goaltending reins over to some combination of inexperience and uncertainty with Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth and frailty in Brent Johnson (assuming he can be re-signed)? Or would it be worth it to the team to keep Theodore as an insurance policy? Finally, if the team does decide to try and move Theo, will they be able to find any takers and, if 'yes', who might they be?