Per The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, the Vancouver Canucks are shopping Holtby. Vancouver exposed him in the expansion draft, but the Kraken passed, taking Vanecek, Chris Driedger and Joey Daccord.
Now, the 31-year-old is being linked to the Capitals. Holtby, who Washington selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, spent 10 seasons in D.C. He and Washington parted ways in 2020 after he became a free agent and signed with the Canucks.
Holtby started 21 games for Vancouver in 2020-21, going 7-11-3 with a .889 save percentage and 3.67 GAA. While in Washington, he went 282-122-46 over 468 games, registering a .916 SV% and 2.53 GAA. He’s tied with Olaf Kolzig for the franchise record in shutouts (35) and owns the highest SV% among all-time Washington goaltenders with at least 102 career games played.
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Acquiring Holtby could be beneficial for the Capitals. He’s a familiar face and a proven leader who can mentor Ilya Samsonov. Holtby served the same role as Thatcher Demko‘s backup this past season. In addition, he’s a positive influence in the locker room and beloved by his teammates. While his numbers haven’t been the best over the last few seasons, he still has a lot left in him. Plus, he can take on the role of a backup.
Holtby also has solid career playoff numbers and was the one to lead the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup. Having that option behind them can help Washington as they look to make a deep run.
One thing to be wary of is cap space, as Holtby carries a cap hit of $4.3 million for one more season. The Capitals don’t have a lot of money to go around, and still have to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and handle RFAs Samsonov and Lucas Johansen. If a deal does happen, Washington has to dumb salary. Per Pagnotta, Capitals blueliner Nate Schmidt is also reportedly on the block, and the Canucks apparently want a top-4 defenseman or top-6 forward in return. Washington has two of those assets in Justin Schultz or Brenden Dillon, both of who were exposed in the expansion draft. Plus, with Martin Fehervary expected to make the NHL jump, the Capitals have a safety net if they deal a defender.
When it comes to other options, Henrik Lundqvist is a pending UFA and could be healthy to return to action next season. Pheonix Copley also has NHL experience and carries a low salary, so he could fill the void as well.
The Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins and Kraken were additionally linked to Holtby by Pagnotta.