Philipp Grubauer taking advantage of opportunity in Washington

by Jan 9, 5:26 PM

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates has tabbed rookie goalie Phillip Grubauer as the starter for Thursday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This will mark Grubauer's tenth start in the team's past 14 games, adding another interesting twist to an already murky Capitals' depth chart at that position.

Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth entered the season as the team's de facto tandem in net; while Holtby was viewed as an emerging elite-level goaltender (perhaps even garnering consideration for Team Canada), Neuvirth was seen as also having the ability to be a number one option. Both have taken a step back over the course of the first half of the season, and Neuvirth has gone as far as to demand a trade out of Washington.

For the time being, Grubauer - originally recalled to fill in for an injured Neuvirth - has grabbed hold of the starter position, and has done his best to keep the Capitals within striking distance of a playoff spot.

"He’s come up and from the first game he’s played great. Given us a little bit of spark. He’s earned an opportunity to play games and I’m playing him,” Oates told the Washington Post. “A little bit of a dilemma right now with three guys. My attitude is it’s a long year and everyone’s going to get plenty of opportunities to play and when a guy’s playing pretty good I’ve got to play him."

Indeed, Grubauer's numbers stand out as the best of this bunch, certainly making it difficult for Oates not to continue to turn to him.

GoalieSv %GAARecord
Braden Holtby0.913.0813-11-2
Michal Neuvirth0.9122.832-3-1
Phillip Grubauer0.9322.25-2-3

The Capitals will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, and Oates indicated the decision on who will start depends on how Thursday’s game plays out.

Jan 21, 12:10 PM

Braden Holtby getting an opportunity to reclaim starter spot

by Jan 21, 12:10 PM

With only two goaltenders now on the active roster, head coach Adam Oates has tabbed his starter for Tuesday's game against the Ottawa Senators.

Holtby hasn't made a start since Jan. 4, where he gave up five goals on 11 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. He's made two relief appearances since, and has posted a record of 13-11-2 with a .911 save percentage and a 3.04 goals against average this season.

Jan 20, 11:27 AM

Capitals G Philipp Grubauer reassigned to Hershey (AHL)

by Jan 20, 11:27 AM

Less than a week after head coach Adam Oates said he planned to rotate three goalies, the Washington Capitals have decided to roll with Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth for the foreseeable future.

In 16 appearances with the Capitals, Grubauer posted a record of 6-4-5, with a .925 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average.

Chances are this is not the last that's heard of the 22-year German.

Jan 14, 1:18 PM

Grubauer to start Tuesday vs. Sharks as Oates gets set to use three goalies

by Jan 14, 1:18 PM

The odd goaltending story in Washington continues. 

Phillip Grubauer will get the start Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks after allowing one goal on 30 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 12. However, Adam Oates has indicated that Grubauer, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth will see action in the coming days, telling CSN Washington "chances are they’re all going to play in the next little bit."

The split depends on what happens in tonight's game and what kind of workload Grubauer sees against the Sharks. "Obviously, they’re a very good team so I expect a lot of work for him, so chances are we’ll split,” Oates said. 

Grubauer's numbers have been most imperssive of the three options in net, posting a record of 6-2-4, with a 2.16 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

Jan 9, 10:00 PM

GIF: Grubauer stretches all the way across the crease to rob Palat

by Jan 9, 10:00 PM

Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer has earned the trust of head coach Adam Oates in recent weeks, and his merits were on full display on the save off the stick of Ondrej Palat to preserve a third period one-goal lead in Tampa Bay on Thursday.

[Courtesy NHL Network]

Based on this save, it's not a stretch to assume the rookie may be in line for a few more starts.