After the Vancouver Canucks bought out the final year of former Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby’s two-year contract that carried a $4.5 million cap hit, the Dallas Stars signed the 31-year-old unrestricted free agent to a one-year contract worth $2 million 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.
He will likely be in a tandem with Anton Khudobin with the Stars.
Holtby and the Stars will face the Capitals for the first time on Friday, January 28 at American Airlines Center. They will visit Washington for the lone time this season on Sunday, March 20.
By Harrison Brown