Throughout the summer and the season, it has been assumed by many that the Caps hold a rather large trade chip in goalie Philipp Grubauer. Washington has a Vezina-caliber starter in Braden Holtby who, at 28, is still in his prime. The team also has a future starter in Ilya Samsonov who is considered one of the best goaltending prospects in the world. At 26, Grubauer wants to be a starting goalie somewhere and given his impressive 2016-17 campaign, he certainly looks like he is ready to take that step. Starting goaltending can be hard to find so it would not be surprising to see a team in need jump at the chance to trade for a budding starter. But the Pittsburgh Penguins may make the Caps think twice about shopping Grubauer. While staring goalies can be hard to find, the situation in Pittsburgh may have taught teams another important lesson: consistent backup goaltending can also be hard to find and it may prove just as critical to a team’s success. Matt Murray was drafted by the Penguins in 2012 and groomed to become the future starter behind Marc-Andre Fleury. In 2015-16, he played in 13 regular season games as the backup. When Fleury suffered a concussion on April 2 just before the playoffs, Murray was forced to take over as the starter that postseason. It was not an ideal situation, but it worked out for Pittsburgh as Murray started 21 games and led the team to a Stanley Cup.
The goalie saga in Pittsburgh shows why trading Grubauer may not be such a good idea
NBC Sports Washington | Nov 29