There is a good chance that Braden Holtby played his last game in a Caps sweater. Holtby just finished up his 10th season in the nation’s capital and is a pending UFA. If the Capitals didn’t have young Russian Ilya Samsonov right behind him, resigning Holtby would be a no brainer. Holtby’s asking price is also something that the Caps don’t want to meet.
In 468 career games, Holtby posted a 2.53 GAA and a .916 SV%. He’s racked up 282 wins and 35 shutouts on his way to a couple of accolades. He’s a 2x all-star, the 2015-16 Vezina trophy winner, the 2016-17 Jennings trophy winner, and won the Stanley Cup in 2018.
So what’s next for the soon to be 31-year old? There are a couple of teams that are in dire need of a goalie and there are three teams that stand out to me.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks tumbled drastically this year and a goaltending tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell wasn’t helping very much. The Sharks allowed 3.21 goals per game this season. This was the 5th worst average in the league.
Dell is set to also hit free agency which leaves a gap in the Sharks crease. Brining in Holtby would be an upgrade both from a backup and a starter standpoint. It would also be a move that would make the Sharks semi-relevant again. It could come at a hefty cost depending on Holtby’s asking price, but if the Sharks want to play playoff hockey again, then a competent netminder will be of much use.
The Carolina Hurricanes are one standout goalie away from being a serious threat in the league. Don’t get me wrong James Reimer and Petr Mrazek are a solid duo and they both held their own this season. That being said, can either one of them give you a deep playoff run? Not at all.
Both of those guys have 1 year left on their deals and the Canes don’t have any goalie prospects that can take over in the near future. Holtby makes more than enough sense given his track record and the fact that he is an established and respected tendy. I can all but guarantee the Canes would finally make it past the Bruins in some way shape or form if they had a guy like Holtby between the pipes.
If there is any team that has a glaring weakness in the crease it is the Edmonton Oilers. The Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen duo were not doing anyone any favors. Both goalies looked lost during the qualifying round against the Blackhawks. Not only did they look lost, but they also got embarrassed in more ways than one.
Mike Smith will not be returning as he is set to hit free agency. Koskinen has two more years left on his deal and any form of help is nowhere in sight. Yes, Edmonton also has to address their blue line but what good is that going to be if you can’t keep pucks out of the net. The playoff experience would also be a huge factor that the Oilers desperately need. We know they score like there’s no tomorrow, but what good is that going to do if you can’t stop shots from going in. Edmonton knows what they need to do and they know who their best option is. Make it happen.