When he first became a household name during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was nothing more than a goalie who put himself in the national spotlight due to a strong performance. Flashforward five years later, and Holtby has become arguably, the NHL’s best netminder.
Coming off a historic 2015-16 season that saw him win the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best netminder after tying Martin Brodeur’s record for most wins in a single season (48), Holtby headed into this season hoping to get his team to the Stanley Cup Final.
In 62 games played this season, Holtby has a record of 42-12-6, a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.08, save percentage of .925, and nine shutouts. He currently ranks first in wins and leads the league in shutouts. While Holtby is considered a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy again this year, he has stiff competition in Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky and a few other goalies that have had outstanding seasons. But what he’s done in terms of franchise records and accomplishments is even more impressive.
At the age of 27, Holtby is already the Capitals’ career leader in save percentage (.922), GAA (2.31), and just four shutouts away from being the franchise leader (32). He’s also tied himself (2014-15) and former Capital Jim Carey for the most shutouts in a single season in franchise history. Thanks to Holtby’s strong play in net, the Caps have already captured the Metropolitan Division and President’s Trophy, and are once again the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
While he won’t be tying or breaking any major records this season, Holtby’s put his name in the conversation for the best goaltender in the NHL with yet another outstanding season. His career hasn’t been bad either, as he has a record of 191-72-31 in 306 games played (298 started), with a GAA of 2.31, save percentage of .922, and 32 shutouts. If the Caps are going to win the Stanley Cup, they’ll need Holtby to continue his dominant and consistent play. If he does that, they will be a very hard to team to beat.
By Michael Fleetwood