According to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, goaltender Braden Holtby has signed a two-year contract that carries a $4.3 million cap hit with the Vancouver Canucks after they did not re-sign Jacob Markstrom and the Washington Capitals reportedly signed Henrik Lundqvist.
The Vancouver Canucks have signed UFA goalie Braden Holtby to a 2-year, $8.6M contract ($4.3M AAV).
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 9, 2020
The contract contains a four-team no-trade clause.
Holtby is coming off of the worst season in his NHL career where he went 25-14-6 with an .897 save percentage and a 3.11 goals-against average, both career worsts. Though, he did improve toward the end as he concluded the regular season by going 6-4-2 with a .901 save percentage and a 3.08 goals-against average while starting 13 of the Capitals’ final 18 games. The Capitals’ 3.50 goals-against per game average during that span was the second-worst in the NHL (Canucks: 3.56).
Holtby went 2-5-1 with a .906 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Capitals fell to the New York Islanders in five games of the first round.
After sitting out the first five periods of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2018 to Philipp Grubauer, Holtby went 16-7 with a .923 save percentage, a 2.16 goals-against average, and two shutouts, including back-to-back whitewashes in Games 6 and 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. In 97 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Capitals, Holtby went 50-46 with a .926 save percentage, a 2.13 goals-against average, and seven shutouts.
He is the Capitals’ all-time leader in wins. Holtby went 282-122-46 with a .916 save percentage, a 2.53 goals-against average, and 35 shutouts in 468 career games with the Capitals. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2016, when he tied Martin Brodeur’s wins in a single season (48) record), and was a finalist again in 2017.
Ilya Samsonov is expected to take the No. 1 job in Washington for the 2020-21 season. After a 15-2-1 start to his NHL career where he posted a .927 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average, the 22-year-old went 1-4-1 with an .873 save percentage and a 4.11 goals-against average after the All-Star break. He missed the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs after an ATV accident during the NHL Pause.
The Canucks are coming off of an appearance in the second round, where they lost in Game 7 to the Vegas Golden Knights, of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the tournament for four consecutive seasons. Holtby will likely work in a tandem with Thatcher Demko after Demko stopped 123 of 125 (.985 save percentage) shots in Games 5-7 against the Golden Knights when Markstrom was “unfit to play” to nearly power the Canucks to the Western Conference Final.
Holtby can become an unrestricted free agent again in 2022. Though, he will likely be exposed to the Seattle Kraken in the NHL Expansion Draft after this season.
The Capitals drafted Holtby 93rd overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. He will reunite with former Capitals’ center Jay Beagle, who signed a four-year contract with the Canucks in 2018 after the two spent eight seasons together in Washington and won the Calder Cup with the AHL’s Hershey Bears together in 2010.
By Harrison Brown