Over his first ten seasons, now-former Capitals goalie Braden Holtby became ingrained as part of the sports culture in the nation’s capital.
“The Save” in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 may get all of the headlines, but he also created countless other memories in red. During an introductory Zoom call on Friday with his new team, the Vancouver Canucks, Holtby reflected on his time in Washington.
“It was almost 10 years, that was home” Holtby said. “The team, the organization, the amount of ups and downs we’ve went through. It is experiences that I will never forget. It is always going to hold that special place in my family’s heart.”
Holtby, who signed a 2-year, $8.6M deal with Vancouver, won 282 games over ten seasons in Washington. He did struggle down the stretch last season, but leaves the organization as statistically one of the best goalies in team history. The Capitals did sign Henrik Lundqvist to a 1-year deal on Friday, but first paid tribute to their former netminder on social media.
“We want to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals,” General Manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and on our community.”
“This year has been tough kind of knowing all along that it was probably the end,” Holtby said. “You know, you make a lot of really good relationships and it was kind of a thing where I used to work with Mitch Korn, our old goalie coach in Washington. He always said this game is not a game of pucks, it’s a game of people. You really know that is true when you are in a situation like that.”
“It is going to be tough. A lot of really good friends and people that you care a lot about, but that is the way life is and excited to make even more of those friendships along the way.”
The Caps' Stanley Cup run is what cements Holtby’s legacy in Washington. His 2.16 goals against average in the playoffs helped lead the Caps to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do there, we won a championship and I think that’s something you can never take away,” Holtby said. “That’s something that is very important to that city, that organization and to my time there.”
“That’s what you play for, and I think that’s the opportunity that we have in Vancouver and that is very exciting to me.”