The Washington Capitals added depth on NHL Deadline Day, acquiring forwards Scott Walker and Eric Belanger, and blueliners Joe Corvo and Milan Jurcina, who returns to Washington after being traded, along with then team captain Chris Clark, to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite these moves paying off immediate dividends, questions remain about the Caps goaltending: specifically, is it enough to keep pucks out of the net in the playoffs?
“No matter how fearsome their attack, they’re just OK at keeping pucks out of their net. They’ll enter the playoffs, likely as the top seed in the East, entrusting the most critical position on the ice to the likes of Jose Theodore, Semyon Varlamov and/or Michal Neuvirth.” – NBCSports.com
So what type of goaltending does it take to win the Cup, and do the Caps have it?
If we look at the Stanley Cup winners over the last decade, some patterns emerge:
Jose Theodore, who I believe has found a real life Hot Tub Time Machine, has shown he is capable of being close to the Jose of 2001-2 when he won the Hart & Vezina Trophies. Exhibit A is his goaltending during the Caps 14 game win streak.
Varlamov is coming back from injury, and his playoff experience from last year will only bolster his confidence going forward.
Caps’ fans should have a deeper concern: the PK:
Since 2000, no Cup winner has had a PK% less than 81.8% (2006 Carolina Hurricanes). 2010 Capitals are currently 78.91%.
But that’s an article for another day.
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