By the middle of last season it was clear that Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, goaltending coach Olie Kolzig and Adam Oates were not on the same page when it came to how Holtby should play between the pipes.
Next season that will change with new head coach Barry Trotz expected to name Mitch Korn as the Caps’ new full-time goaltending instructor. The news was first reported by The Tennessean.
Trotz and Korn have a long history together. They spent 16 years together with the Nashville Predators, where Korn is credited with the development of young goalies Tomas Vokoun, Dan Ellis and, most recently, Pekka Rinne.
Voted in 2010 as one of The Hockey News’ “top 10 geniuses in hockey,” Korn, 56, spent seven years with the Buffalo Sabres before joining the Predators, working with Dominik Hasek and Marty Biron. He’s also had an influence on several other NHL goalies, including Kolzig. Corey Hirsch, Clint Malarchuk, Grant Fuhr and Ty Conklin.
A native of New York City, Korn will play a big role in the development of Holtby, who took a significant sep backward this season while trying to adjust to being deeper in his net. In 48 games this season Holtby went 23-15-4 with a 2.85 GAA and .915 save percentage.
“Nothing against what the philosophy was, it just didn’t coincide with my personality and my natural instincts,” Holtby said of Oates. “The changes led to a lot of second guessing myself and over-thinking things. The moment you start doing that you start to struggle, and when you struggle your confidence goes down a bit.”
It will be interesting to see if the addition of Korn will influence who will join Holtby in the Capitals’ crease next season.
Philipp Grubauer is the only other goalie with NHL experience in the Capitals’ organization and Vokoun, 37, will be on the free-agent market as a potential veteran backup. Vokoun signed with the Caps three summers ago and played one season with the Caps before Holtby took his job as an injury replacement and Vokoun was traded to the Penguins.