Grubauer was the Capitals‘ last remaining restricted free agent and is the backup to starter Braden Holtby. The 25-year-old appeared in a career-high 24 games last year and had a .926 save percentage.
With Grubauer’s signing, the Capitals are likely done spending in free agency. Washington has nearly $71 million committed to 17 roster spots and $4 million remaining in salary cap room to fill out the final five or six spots for bottom of the roster.
The Capitals will likely fill those roster spots with younger prospects or recently signed free agents. Forward Nathan Walker, for example, is set to make a league-minimum $650,000 and could see time on the fourth line. Walker has spent most of his career with the Hershey Bears, the Capitals‘ AHL affiliate.
Grubauer was the fourth restricted free agent the Capitals re-signed this offseason that was on the roster last year. Washington re-signed Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov to long-term deals, with Kuznetsov making $62.4 million over eight years and Orlov locked up to a five-year, $30.6 million deal. Andre Burakovsky was signed to a two-year, $6 million deal.
Grubauer will continue to backup Holtby and be a reliable option when the Capitals‘ starter isn’t playing. The 25-year-old has progressed each season and was a candidate for the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft before Vegas ultimately ended up selecting defenseman Nate Schmidt.
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