It is clear that the 25-year-old goaltender should be paid after his outstanding playoff run. But how much? And how long? Those are the real questions.
Holtby posted a 1.71 goals against average and .944 save percentage over 13 games in the playoffs this season. During the regular season, Braden started 73 games and achieved a 2.22 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. These kind of numbers are well deserving of big money contract. But, signing a young goaltender to a long, big money contract is kind of a risk.
In my opinion, the big net minder should be paid around 6 million dollars – 6.5 million dollars. This is completely reasonable for this kind of guy. 6.5 million is not THAT much money in the hockey world, but it is enough to make a player happy. You don’t want to overpay the guy because, like stated before, he is still young and his career could still go bad. If you underpay him, he might not play as well because he knows he’s not going to be paid as much as he’d like. That is why 6 – 6.5 million is COMPLETELY reasonable for a guy like Braden Holtby.
I believe that Holtby should be signed to 6 years at the most, and 4 years at the least. If you sign him for 4 years, he will be 29 by the time his contract expires. At this age, you will know if the guy is good enough to stay on the team. Also, signing him for 4 years will allow you to trade him after two years if he doesn’t turn out to be good, because his contract won’t be expiring for another two years.
Signing him for 6 years is almost pushing it. By the time the contract is up, he’ll be 31 years of age. At this point, he might be a little old and no team will want him IF he turns out to be a flop. But, this could also be a good move because if he turns out to be an elite net minder, which he probably will be, you won’t have to resign him for a while.
To wrap this up, I think that the Capitals should sign Braden Holtby to a 4 year, $24-26 million contract. This allows the organization to figure out whether or not Holtby is here to stay, or if he should be traded at the end or in the middle of his contract. Signing him for too long will just cause problems for the Washington Capitals in the future.