clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016-17 Rink Wrap: Philipp Grubauer

From Alzner to Winnik, we're taking a look at and grading the 2016-17 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2017-18. Next up, Philipp Grubauer.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version; data via, and Cap Friendly):

Grubauer's Season, Game-by-Game (via HockeyViz):

Grubauer's 10-Game Rolling 5v5 Save Percentage (via Corsica):

Grubauer's 5v5 Shots Faced (via HockeyViz):

Grubauer's 5v5 Save Percentage in Three Qualifying Seasons (via

Key Stat: In 24 games this regular season, Herr Grubauer posted a .926 SV%... better than Braden Holtby’s .925.

Interesting Stat: Together with bearded Adonis and Vezina Trophy finalist Braden Holtby, Grubauer helped the Capitals’ defense secure its second ever William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against (182) in the NHL.

The Good: I expected to dig through some stats for this and discover that Grubauer was one of the better back-up goalies in the league this season. I did not expect him to be one of the better goalies, period. He was.

In fact, you could make a statistical case that the better goalie playing in Washington this season was not Vezina runner-up Braden Holtby, but rather our darling house frau Grubauer.

In 2016-2017, Grubauer posted a .926 Sv%, the fourth-best in the NHL among goalies who played at least 20 games. Holtby, in an admittedly much heavier workload (63 games played) posted a .925 Sv%. But let’s break it down further: Grubauer’s power play save percentage hung at .883, good for 14th among the 54 goalies who played more than 20 games. Holtby’s .848 was 44th out of 54. At even strength, Grubauer was positively transcendent, ringing-up a .937 EV Sv% (4th) while Holtby came in at an also-fabulous .935 (6th). Graubauer also managed to snag a better winning percentage than Holtby (.684 vs. .667) and deliver a quality start in a higher percentage of his games (.684 vs. .619).

I wanted to look at high-danger chances, scoring chances, and the like, but our mighty serephic overlord Corsica.Hockey is down for maintenance and re-design. (SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL HOCKEY ADVANCED STATISTICS WEBSITE!) I leave the door wide open to the possibility that those statistics would vindicate Holtby, and show that, perhaps, his teammates hung him out to dry far more often.

None of this is to say that Philipp Grubauer is a better goalie than Braden Holtby; Holtby has earned that right with years of consistently stellar play. But considering that Grubauer’s salary cap hit ($750,000) was barely 12% of Braden Holtby’s ($6.1 million), you could argue pretty darn loudly that Grubauer is the better value.

The Bad: I’m not going to sugarcoat this: Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee would be a fool not to take Grubauer in this summer’s expansion draft. As Isabelle Khurshudyan reported, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan will be employing the 7-3-1 expansion protection template, meaning Washington will be designating 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender to protect from the draft. They will not be exposing Holtby while protecting Grubauer, and I’ll eat my hat and your left French cuff if they do.

The Capitals might have had - I know, I know, it’s nuts - two of the top 10 goalies in the NHL on their roster this season. Given that nine of those ten are starters, and therefore likely protected, it should surprise no one on Earth if Philipp Grubauer is, extremely deservedly, the first-ever franchise starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights come next season.

The Video:

The Vote: Rate Grubauer 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: If you were George McPhee, would you select Grubauer? Is there any world in which you would rather the Capitals protect Grubauer for salary cap reasons? Do you think Grubauer’s ceiling in the NHL is higher or lower than fellow Caps alumni Semyon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Other Grubauer Season Reviews: RMNB


How do you rate Philipp Grubauer’s 2016-17 season?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    (29 votes)
  • 37%
    (57 votes)
  • 31%
    (48 votes)
  • 8%
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
152 votes total Vote Now