WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer knows the next step on his career path could involve significant time sitting on the bench.
Grubauer has signed a $1.5 million, two-year contract to stay with the Capitals and hopes to be Braden Holtby's backup next season.
"That's the goal, to be a starter in the NHL and it's got to start with the backup job," Grubauer said in conference call on Tuesday. "I want to take the next step."
The 23-year-old played 49 games with Hershey of the American Hockey League last season and one regular season game with Washington.
Grubauer won Game 2 of the Capitals' first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders, becoming the first German-born goalie to start an NHL playoff game.
"I had to play good down in Hershey, and step up in Washington in the playoffs and the one regular season game I got," he said, "and show them I can be ready for the NHL, and will be ready for the NHL."
The team announced the one-way contract Monday. Grubauer, who was a pending restricted free agent, will make $650,000 next season, then $850,000 in 2016-17.
"We negotiated for a little bit, but my goal was the one-way contract," he said.
Grubauer, selected by Washington in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, has appeared in 20 games for the Capitals, going 7-6-5 with a 2.44 goals-against average.
The Capitals signed free agent backup Justin Peters last summer. He went 3-6-1 with a 3.25 goals-against average in 12 games, and has one year remaining on his contract.
Grubauer said the team hasn't discussed with him what his role will be next season.
Holtby, another pending restricted free agent, appeared in a career-high 73 games last season.