WASHINGTON, D.C. — It had been over two years since Braden Holtby had last been to Capital One Arena, his last game being there as a member of the Washington Capitals. And though he didn’t get to dress for the Dallas Stars in his return to D.C., he received a huge welcome back from his former club.
Holtby was in the building for his return and appeared emotional while receiving a lengthy video tribute and standing ovation in his homecoming.
— Sammi Silber (@sammisilber) March 20, 2022
The longtime Capitals netminder watched on the jumbotron as the team reviewed his monumental time with the organization, from his debut to his famous save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 20, 2022
The Saskatchewan native’s time with the Capitals spanned over a decade. 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.
He left at the end of the 2019-20 campaign and signed as a free agent in Vancouver. However, his contract was bought out this summer. He then signed a one-year deal with Dallas, where he has a .913 save percentage through 24 appearances this season.
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Holtby’s impact and legacy live on in Washington. He not only received a warm welcome from the fans but stick taps from his current and former teammates. Long after his tribute during an early media timeout, “Holtby” chants broke out through the arena as play continued.
The 32-year-old said earlier in the season, when he played his first career game against his former team on Jan. 28, that he learned with the Capitals that hockey was 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.”