Capitals

Braden Holtby says goodbye to Capitals, signs with Vancouver

Capitals

With Henrik Lundqvist signing in Washington, it marked the end of Braden Holtby's tenure with the Capitals.

Holtby was quick to find a new team, however, as he has signed a two-year, $8.6 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday with a $4.3 million cap hit, according to Dan Murphy of SportsNet.

Holtby's free agent year came at an unfortunate time as a flat salary cap, uncertainty over the coronavirus and a loaded goalie market prevented him from getting the long-term, big-money contract he was expected to make a year ago when forecasting free agency. Instead, the 31-year-old netminder took a two-year deal in what is expected to be a tandem situation in Vancouver.

The Canucks were led by Jacob Markstrom in the playoffs, but the 24-year-old Thatcher Demko stole the spotlight when he came on in relief of an injured Markstrom and was brilliant. Now Markstrom will also be looking for a new team in free agency while Holtby will be in a tandem with Demko.

If Holtby was willing to tandem with a young goalie on a short-term deal, why did he not just re-sign with the Caps? Money was probably the big issue there. With a tight cap situation, a two-year deal at $4.3 million per is far too steep for Washington and would have taken what little remaining cap room the team had left. General Manager Brian MacLellan would have had to move salary just to keep Holtby as a backup which does not make a ton of sense.

 

Holtby will reunite with former long-time teammate Jay Beagle, who has been with the Canucks since 2018.