Canucks goalies excluded from NHL Network’s top 10 rankings

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

NHL Network revealed their list of the top 10 goalies. Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby of the Vancouver Canucks were excluded from the list.

Entering the 2020-21 season, the Vancouver Canucks have one of the NHL’s top goaltending tandems, at least on paper.

They have a promising 24-year-old Thatcher Demko, who almost single-handedly led the Canucks to a stunning upset over the powerhouse Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the playoffs.

Demko has long been viewed as the goalie of the future, and with Jacob Markstrom departing for the archrival Calgary Flames in free agency, the former will get every chance to earn the full time starting duties.

General manager Jim Benning found a safe insurance option in case Demko isn’t ready for the larger workload, signing former Washington Capitals All-Star Braden Holtby to a low-risk two-year contract worth $8.6 million in free agency.

Though Holtby’s play in Washington noticeably regressed in 2018-19 and 2019-20, his resume speaks for itself: He’s a one-time Vezina Trophy winner (2016) with 282 wins, a career .916 save percentage and a Stanley Cup championship (2018).

So yes, the Canucks have good reason to believe that their goaltending situation will hold up nicely in 2020-21, even with Markstrom long gone.

NHL Network released their list of the top 10 goalies ahead of the 2020-21 season, and neither Holtby nor Demko made the list. For what it’s worth, Markstrom claimed the ninth spot.

This shouldn’t be too surprising. If the list was based on career accolades, Holtby would be in the top three or five. But he’s going to have to quickly turn it around with goaltending coach and guru Ian Clark if Holtby is to be viewed as a top notch goalie again.

As for Demko, he’s only played in 37 games thus far. If the performance against Vegas was a sign of what’s to come, then the Canucks do have a future top 10 goalie on their hands.

The expectation is that the Canucks will play in an All-Canadian division next season. That means they’ll face three elite goalies: Markstrom, 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets) and future Hall of Famer Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens).

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Here’s hoping Demko and Holtby will be able to hold the fort as the Canucks prepare for what will be an adventurous and unique season like no other.