It has been over two years since Braden Holtby last took the ice at Capital One Arena, and it looks like his homecoming will have to wait as he will miss Sunday’s showdown between the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars.
Per Rick Bowness (via The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks), Holtby will be out for Dallas against Washington as he deals with a lingering lower-body injury. It would have been Holtby’s first game back in D.C. since leaving the Capitals after the 2019-20 season, and his first game back since before the COVID-19 pandemic. His last game at Capital One Arena was on March 4, 2020. He surrendered five goals on 29 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Holtby did get to reunite with Washington earlier this season, though, starting his first career game against the his former club back on Jan. 28. It didn’t go according to plan, though, as Holtby was pulled after surrendering five goals on 27 shots against. He did get to catch up with his former teammates on the bench, though. Also, he had nothing but good things to say about his time with the team, saying hockey is a game of “people, not pucks.”
“It’s the people. Hockey’s obviously what we do, but there’s a lot outside of it. The relationships you make and the people that helped you in different ways, you’re kind of forever grateful for,” Holtby said of his time in D.C. “That’s where my family grew up, it’s home for me. It’s pretty special to see these people again and catch up.”
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With a strong season and consistency reminiscent of his past years following a tough one-year stint in Vancouver, Holtby’s name turned up in trade speculation, suggesting the Capitals or another team could look to add him at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, which is on Monday at 3 p.m. ET. However, Anton Khudobin is now out long-term after undergoing surgery, and the Stars will likely hold on to No. 70 and use him in tandem with Jake Oettinger as Dallas looks to sneak into the postseason.
Holtby’s legacy remains strong in Washington. Through 468 career games over 10 years with the Capitals, Holtby went 282-122-46 with a .916 save percentage and 2.53 GAA. He also ranks first (T-Olaf Kolzig) in shutouts in franchise history with 35. The Saskatchewan native was also instrumental in helping the Capitals clinch their first-ever Stanley Cup back in 2018 and is famous for making “The Save” in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Washington and Dallas square off at 5 p.m. ET. The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is less than 24 hours away. And though it doesn’t appear likely that the Capitals will get a Holtby reunion, the team is reportedly keeping an eye on the goalie market and who may provide a boost in net.