It’s pretty much a given that Philipp Grubauer will not be a Capital by the start of the 2018-19 season. After not being picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft as expected, Grubauer will likely be looking for a starting spot this off-season.
Rumours are circulating that a number of teams are interested in the 26 year old German goaltender and while he has been invaluable to the Washington Capitals during the regular season, his two playoff starts both ended in loses to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames are all rumoured to be possible choices for Grubauer. With the Islanders being the top favourite for the goaltender. They have the cap space to take him and give him the pay rise he so richly deserves.
As of July 1st he becomes a restricted free agent and while the Capitals could keep him, as is likely with Jay Beagle and Michael Kempny, Grubauer has made it clear he wants to be a starter. “I tried to play my game, I tried to be consistant the last couple of years and win some games and get some points, and hopefully teams and other people saw that. That was my goal, to be a number 1 starter.”
With the success of Braden Holtby in the playoffs, this is unlikely to be in Washington.
But what can the Capitals get for Grubauer? Even this has been hotly debated. What is clear however, is that they act quickly. Over the last two seasons no goalie in the NHL has been better than Philipp Grubauer. during 5-on-5 play. He backstopped the Capitals to the William M Jennings trophy last season with Braden Holtby and when required, he stepped in to help out a struggling team mate.
There are two options for the Capitals going forward, they could resign him to a deal and then trade him away for a draft pick (or perhaps more) or they could trade him away pre-signing which could prove to be even more lucrative for the Champions. What is almost certain is that Grubauer will not be a Capital come autumn.