Braden Holtby asks for $8 million per season in arbitration

Braden Holtby asks for $8 million per season in arbitration

The goaltender with the highest cap hit next season in the NHL? Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers at $8.5 million, generally considered one of the top three – if not the greatest – goaltender currently drawing oxygen on Earth.

Restricted free-agent goalie Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals is asking for $500,000 less than Henrik Lundqvist.

OK, he’s not really asking for it. According to Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports, that’s Holtby’s proposal in his arbitration hearing with the Capitals this week. The Capitals are offering $5.1 million, itself a hefty raise over the $1.85 million against the cap Holtby cost last season.

The $8 million ask is patently absurd -- a short-term arbitration contract won't even eat up any unrestricted years! -- and that’s with the acknowledgement that Holtby should get a salary north of $6 million.

As Neil Greenberg notes, there’s a comparison to be made between Holtby from 2010-2015 and Pekka Rinne from 2005-2011. Rinne signed a 7-year, $49-million mega deal at age 29 in 2011. That was a contract inflated by gobbled-up UFA years and management’s desperation in trying to convince Ryan Suter and Shea Weber that there was a financial commitment to winning.

But that comparison is for negotiations, not for arbitration, because UFA deals can’t be used in RFA hearings.

What’s the negotiation looked like between the Caps and Holtby? From the Washington Post:

The Capitals’ offer to Holtby — the 25-year-old who tied franchise records for games played, wins and shutouts last season and finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting — has maxed in the mid-$5 million range, while Holtby’s team has countered around $1 million higher, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.

So Holtby had been looking for $6.5 million, the Caps said “no dice,” and now Camp Braden has set the ceiling at $8 million.

Here's Puck Daddy's Josh Cooper on what Holtby should be worth. 

This should be fun. For Philipp Grubauer, we mean, who'll probably be the Capitals' starter in the next two years as Holtby leaves a smoldering bridge with managment behind him after this arbitration hearing.