On Saturday, the Washington Capitals added goaltending depth by signing veteran netminder Dan Ellis to a one-year, two-way contract.
The 35-year-old journeyman has made the round in recent seasons, playing for the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Florida Panthers since 2012. His 212 career games also include time spent with the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and an earlier stop in Dallas, after being drafted by the Stars.
NEWS: #Caps sign goaltender Dan Ellis to a one-year, two-way contract. #HBH @TheHersheyBears http://t.co/SZMjwVEAV7 pic.twitter.com/Ity9LJNA0A
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 4, 2015
Since the 2010-11 season, Ellis has played in 102 games with a 90.59 even strength save percentage. He’s unlikely to work his way into NHL games with declining play and the Caps having decent goaltending depth in place already. He posted a 91.4 all situation save percentage for Florida last season through just eight games, but was a less promising 87.9 the season prior through 20 games split between Florida and Dallas.
The Capitals leaned heavily on Braden Holtby last year, having him play 73 regular season games. When it wasn’t Holtby, they turned to Justin Peters, who will turn 29 before the season starts. He posted an 88.1 all situation save percentage and the team clearly didn’t have a lot of faith in him. When they lost Holtby in the playoffs, instead of turning to Peters, they called up Philipp Grubauer, who is 23 and the most promising goaltender they’ve got.
Unless the team wants to supplant Peters with Ellis — which is possible — it seems unlikely Ellis will see a ton of action. At the NHL level, it’s Holtby’s game. Grubauer is still developing, so, like last season, they’ll want to keep him at the AHL level and give him the lion’s share of the work. If Peters remains their number two, then that drops Ellis to fourth on their depth chart.
It’s an interesting signing that either gives the team a ton of depth or is a sign of moves and changes yet to come.
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