The Washington Capitals re-signed both goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman John Erskine to two-year extensions Monday. Holtby will receive $3.7 million over the next two seasons, while Erskine will earn $3.925 million.
Holtby is 5-6-0 with a 3.37 goals against average and .896 save percentage in 11 appearances this season. In his last three games, however, the 23-year-old has allowed just six goals on 99 shots, a .939 save percentage.
“It’s just another thing you don’t have to worry about, I guess," Holtby said of his new contract. "But it’s not going to change everything. It’s just the less amount of distractions you can have, the easier it is to focus.”
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Erskine has appeared in 11 of Washington's 17 games so far this season as his role has increased under head coach Adam Oates.
The rugged defenseman, who only played in 28 games last season and admitted Monday that he wasn't certain if the Capitals would retain him once his contract expired at the end of the season, is averaging 19:30 of ice time per game, which would be a career high. Yet, he did miss three games this season due to a suspension for elbowing Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds Feb. 1.
"Last year I’ve put behind me," Erskine said. "It wasn’t my favorite hockey year, but things are off to a better start for me this year for me. The coaches have been giving me minutes and I’ve been playing with confidence. Good things are happening."
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