Photo: The Canuck Way
According to The Athletic’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Vancouver Canucks bought out the final season of former Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby’s two-year contract that carried a $4.3 million cap hit on Tuesday. There was trade interest in Holtby but teams wanted the Canucks to add a sweetener to take on his contract, which they were unwilling to do.
The 31-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent at 12 PM ET on Wednesday.
Holtby is coming off of the two worst seasons of his career. He played just 21 games last season, finishing with a career-worst 7-11-3 record, .889 save percentage, and a 3.67 goals-against average. Holtby set career-worsts in each category in his final season with the Capitals in 2019-20, where he went 25-14-6 with an .897 save percentage and a 3.11 goals-against average.
In 489 career NHL games with the Capitals and Canucks, Holtby, who ranks second among the Capitals’ all-time wins leaders, has gone 289-133-49 with a .915 save percentage, a 2.58 goals-against average, and 35 shutouts. He has gone 50-46-1 with a .926 save percentage, a 2.13 goals-against average, and seven shutouts in 97 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Capitals, who drafted Holtby 93rd overall in 2008.
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.
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.
The buy-out will cost the Canucks $500,000 against their salary cap this season and $1.9 million in 2022-23 before it will come off of the books.
The Canucks are also expected to trade former Capitals left-handed defenseman Nate Schmidt, who has reportedly expressed a desire to be dealt and shut down a trade to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 27, 2021
By Harrison Brown