Former Stingrays help Capitals win Stanley Cup title

Former Stingrays help Capitals win Stanley Cup title
Courtesy: SC Stingrays

Las Vegas, NV - The South Carolina Stingrays' NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals claimed the organization's first-ever Stanley Cup Championship Thursday night with a 3-1 defeat of the Vegas Golden Knights at T Mobile Arena to win the series in five games. Former Stingrays goaltenders Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and Pheonix Copley, as well as forward Nathan Walker, were all members of the championship team.

Holtby led the way in between the pipes for Washington in their first run to a title, securing all 16 wins while suiting up in 23 postseason contests including two shutouts while defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.

The netminder from Lloydminster, Sask. is in his eighth NHL season, all coming with Washington. He began his professional career during the 2009-10 campaign and suited up for 12 games with the Stingrays, posting a 7-2-3 record with a goals-against of 2.95 and a save percentage at 0.911. Holtby was honored with the league's Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season as the best goaltender in the NHL and has won 240 games in his career for Washington.

Grubauer made two starts for the Capitals at the beginning of their playoff run against the Columbus Blue Jackets and appeared in a career-high 35 NHL games during the 2017-18 regular season. While securing 15 wins for Washington, the Rosenheim, Germany native had a goals-against average of 2.35 and a save percentage at 0.923.

During 2011-12, Grubauer's rookie professional season, the goaltender played in 43 contests with South Carolina and went 23-13-5 with a goals-against of 2.22 and a save percentage at 0.918. He has now totaled 102 career NHL games while spanning six seasons with Washington.

Walker, who suited up for one postseason contest, recorded an assist in the series-clinching Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinal. The forward appeared in six games for the Stingrays in 2014-15, scoring four points on two goals and two assists.

Copley was added to the Capitals' postseason roster after finishing the regular season in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears but did not see any game action. The goaltender joined the Rays for three games after turning pro and signing with Washington at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.

The group joins forward Rich Peverley as the only five former Stingrays players to win the Stanley Cup. Peverley captured the chalice in 2011 with the Boston Bruins.