The Washington Capitals are in the hunt for a goaltender, and one familiar face that will become a UFA on July 13 is former goaltender Braden Holtby. Per new reports, it doesn’t seem that the 32-year-old goaltender will lace ’em up in the NHL next season, and he could potentially have to hang up the pads, too.
Frank Seravalli told Jason Gregor on the DFO Rundown that Holtby signing and returning to the league next season is far from likely.
“His career may be over,” Seravalli said.
The Buffalo News added that the veteran is facing hip surgery. It is unclear whether or not that is the ailment, though.
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Holtby played in 24 games in 2021-22 after signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars following his buyout from the Vancouver Canucks. He went 10-10-1 with a .913 save percentage and 2.78 GAA before being sidelined and placed on the LTIR with a lower-body injury. Dallas subsequently traded for Scott Wedgewood and ran with him and Jake Oettinger in net.
In 513 career games, Holtby is 299-143-50 with a .915 SV% and 2.59 GAA. Over 10 years with the Capitals, he went 282-122-46 with a .916 SV% and 2.53 GAA. He led them to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2018. Holtby also shares the franchise record of 35 shutouts with Olie Kolzig.
Holtby’s absence would make the goaltending free agent market even thinner. Top targets Marc-Andre Fleury and Ville Husso came off the market at the 2022 NHL Draft, as Fleury re-signed in Minnesota and the Detroit Red Wings traded for and signed for Husso. Darcy Kuemper is currently the top name on the market. Jack Campbell is also a pending UFA.
Washington needs a new netminder after trading Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils on Friday. The Capitals currently have just Ilya Samsonov on the NHL roster.