In the NHL’s annual game of musical chairs — better known as free agency — the music is winding down and a handful of players are still standing. A number of those stragglers are former Vancouver Canucks looking for new homes.
In this week’s edition of Bored Hockey Fans Trying to Entertain Themselves, we’ll look at some of these free agents, why they still haven’t signed, and what their careers might look like from here on out.
#6 — Braden Holtby
Although he wasn’t the best goalie the Canucks have ever had, Braden Holtby spent many years as one of the most trusted netminders in the league during his time with the Washington Capitals. That trust is proudly displayed in his trophy case in the form of a Vezina Trophy, a Jennings Trophy and Stanley Cup ring. He was also named a First-Team All-Star in 2016 and a Second-Team All-Star in 2017.
Needless to say, Holtby is experienced and he knows what it takes to succeed. He was much more successful this past season with the Dallas Stars than he was with the Canucks. Over 24 games, he maintained a .913 save percentage and a 2.78 goals against average — a huge bounce back from what he achieved the previous year.
So, why has Holtby not signed a contract yet? The answer is simple: he’s hurt. A lower-body injury suffered in March forced him to miss the last bit of the season. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic recently reported that he’s likely to miss the entire season and retirement is a possibility.
It’s a shame that Holtby is not ready to play, as the Vegas Golden Knights are in desperate need of a solid goaltender with the news that Robin Lehner is expected to miss the entire season. Golden Knights fans saw first-hand how effective Holtby can be when they faced him in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Of course, after that Vegas probably wouldn’t take him even if the only other option was strapping a shooter tutor to the net. But if they did pick him up, it would make for a great story.