CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Michal Neuvirth
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 204
Goals-Against Average: 2.74
Save Percentage: .910
Contract Status: 2 years remaining on 2-year, $5 million contract [$2.5 million cap hit in 2013-14]
Strengths: Neuvirth has proven he can play at the NHL level – he set career highs in 2010-11 with 27 wins and a 2.45 GAA – but he is 17-18-7 in his past two seasons with the Caps and has not appeared in a playoff game since the Caps were swept by the Lightning in the second round if the 2011 playoffs. Because of his age and experience Neuvirth still has value around the NHL.
Weaknesses: It seemed every time Neuvirth had a chance to claim the No. 1 job from Braden Holtby he either struggled or was injured. Neuvirth went 1-4-1 in his first five starts and missed a start in Philadelphia on Feb. 27 and a start on Long Island on March 7 with separate bouts of the flu. He missed a third start in Philadelphia on March 31 when he couldn’t shake the effects of taking a practice shot to the mask from Alex Ovechkin. Despite all of that the Caps extended his contract by two years.
Memorable Moment: On the ice, Neuvirth stepped up in a big way when he won back-to-back games against the Canadiens and Hurricanes on April 7 and 9, keeping alive what would become a seven-game win streak that propelled the Caps to the Southeast Division title. Off the ice, Neuvirth made his biggest news prior to the season when he reportedly told a Czech website that Ovechkin wasn’t what he used to be and that Holtby was the weakest competition he has had to face in Washington. He later said that when translated those comments were taken out of context.
2013-14 Expectations: Neuvirth said after the season that he wants to be a No. 1 goalie, but with Holtby firmly entrenched in that role it likely won’t happen in Washington. The theory is that the Caps re-signed Neuvirth, who would have been a restricted free agent, so that they can trade him at the draft and promote Philipp Grubauer to the role of Holtby’s backup. The Calgary Flames have been the team most often linked to trade rumors surrounding Neuvirth.