Washington Capitals’ Top 25 for 2014-15: No. 16: Justin Peters

Washington Capitals’ Top 25 for 2014-15: No. 16: Justin Peters
August 1, 2014, 10:45 am
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(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

As part of our summer countdown series, CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley breaks down his Top 25 impact players for the Washington Capitals’ upcoming 2014-15 season.

No. 16: Justin Peters, Goaltender

Age: 28 [turns 29 Aug. 30]

2014-15 NHL Salary: $950,000 [$950,000 cap hit]

2013-14 stats: 21 games, 7-9-4 record, 1 shutout, 2.50 GAA, .919 save percentage, 4 penalty minutes

Projected 2014-15 stats: 18 games, 8-8-2 record, 1 shutout, 2.65 GAA, .921 save percentage

Analysis: When the Capitals signed Justin Peters to a two-year, $1.9 million contract on July 1, Caps GM Brian MacLellan said he was sending a message to Braden Holtby that he is the undisputed No. 1 goalie of the Capitals. Clarifying that position was a priority for the Caps after last year’s three-headed goalie experiment resulted in chaotic seasons for Holtby, Michal Neuvirth and Philipp Grubauer. Peters may be entering the prime of his playing career, but he also accepts his role as the Capitals’ backup, a role he had in Carolina behind Cam Ward. Like Holtby, Peters is known for handling the puck well and making clean exchanges with his defensemen. He’s also athletic enough to steal a game or two. However, Peters has a tendency to struggle with rebound control and has never been asked to carry the load at the NHL level, which means the Caps might be more inclined to go with Grubauer if Holtby is injured or does not seize his role as the team’s No. 1 netminder. If Peters can improve under new goalie guru Mitch Korn and can give the Caps at least a .500 record this season they’ll consider him a valuable addition.