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Thank You, Braden Holtby

After a decade in DC, it’s time to say goodbye to Braden Holtby. Yesterday he signed a 2-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks for $4.3 million average annual value. As a Capitals fan, it’s difficult to see him leave, but looking back, we have a lot to be grateful for.

Beginnings

As the 93rd overall pick in 2008, Holtby is arguably the best player to come out of the 4th round that year. He spent 3 years in Hershey, where he won a Calder Cup in 2009, being called up for some games in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. He earned his spot as starting goaltender in the 2012-13 season, where he started 36 of the abbreviated 48-game regular season.

2018 Stanley Cup

While it wasn’t his most impressive year in his career, I would be remiss to leave out the fact that Braden anchored the Capitals in their Stanley Cup Championship. He spent 5 seasons winning roughly ⅔ of his games played before he was able to secure victory for DC. Let us all remember The Save against Alex Tuch in the Finals, a moment that will live in the hearts and minds of Capitals fans for years to come.

Signs of Change

The Capitals signed young Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov in the summer of last year. It was clear throughout the season that the organization saw a future with Samsonov in net; Reirden cut Braden Holtby back to 48 games in net to give the Russian 26 as an introduction to the NHL. With Braden’s contract expiring and knowing he would be expecting a pay raise, it wasn’t surprising that he went to free agency.

Onward

Next season we’ll see what Holtby can do in a franchise that’s been trying to claw its way back into the top 10 since losing the 2011 Stanley Cup. In Vancouver, Braden will be reunited with former teammate and fellow Stanley Cup Champion, a man beloved by Washington as well, Jay Beagle. He’ll get to practice with some elite young players, Boeser, Petterson, and Hughes. He’ll get to experience the birth of a rivalry when the Seattle Kraken start. Vancouver is closer to his family in Saskatchewan.

I hope he’s a little sad to be leaving, but I know he’s excited about what’s going to be an interesting two years. We’ll miss his talent on the ice as well as his charity work off-ice. Vancouver is getting an incredible player and human in Braden Holtby, and I wish him all the best.

Other Goalie News

As I said in a previous post, there are a ton of quality goaltenders up for grabs this year. After only a day, most of them have found new homes.

  • Markstrom moved provinces from Vancouver to Calgary for the longest deal so far of 6 years (av. $6mil/yr).
  • Matt Murray signed with Ottawa for 4 years (av. $6.25mil/yr) after 2 Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh.
  • Talbot went south of the border from Calgary to Minnesota for 3 years (av. $3.6 mil/yr).
  • Khudobin decided to stay in Dallas and re-signed for another 3 years (av. $3.3mil/yr).
  • Corey Crawford said goodbye to Chicago after what feels like forever to sign with New Jersey for 2 years (av. $3.9mil/yr).
  • Kinkaid moved from Centre Bell to Madison Square Garden, most likely to back up their young stud there for the next 2 years (av. $875,000/yr).
  • Malcolm Subban re-signed with Chicago, also for the next 2 years (av. $850,000/yr).
  • And finally, the King of New York Henrik Lundquist has moved from the Rangers to the Capitals for a year, most likely to mentor Samsonov into a legendary tendie ($1.5mil).

Some notable names still up for grabs: Cory Schneider, Thomas Greiss, Craig Anderson, Mike Smith, and Linus Ullmark.

-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)

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Heidi Thomas

Armchair hockey coach, passive horse racing fan, full-time dog referee.

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