Former Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby played his first full game as a member of the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night in the team’s 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center, where he made 27 of 28 saves.
Through five periods of play this offseason, the 32-year-old has a .951 save percentage and a 1.20 goals-against average.
This comes after the Vancouver Canucks bought out the final year of his contract on July 27, which appears to have lit a fire inside Holtby. 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.
Last season, the Stars allowed an average of 27.1 shots-per-game (tied for the second-fewest in the NHL), a big difference from the average of 33.1 per 60 minutes that Holtby faced in Vancouver (tied for 14th-most).
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.
Holtby is beautiful pic.twitter.com/YwDLRQdXK3
— 🎃 SPOOOOOOOKY Ryan 🦈🛩 (@ForeverKasai) October 6, 2021
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.
Holtby and the Stars open the regular season at the New York Rangers on Thursday, October 14.
By Harrison Brown