Report: Braden Holtby Bought Out By Vancouver Canucks

Braden Holtby
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According to reports the Vancouver Canucks will buy the final year of Braden Holtby contract. It’s the culmination of efforts that started a few weeks back and included recruiting Holtby’s agent in the effort. Whether David Kaye can be given credit – or blame – for the deal, it shows how much everyone wanted it done. The Canucks have decided to go in a different direction for their backup goaltender.

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Braden Holtby Bought Out

Holtby had a rough start to his season, beginning with his move to Vancouver. His tortoises – not turtles! – had to wait to cross the border, but that was cleared up soon enough. On the ice, it was a different story. While there were signs his game was in decline over the past few seasons, including the Stanley Cup-winning 2017-18 one, there was some hope he could find his form under goalie coach Ian Clark. Vancouver knew they were losing anchor Jacob Markstrom, and Holtby was an immediate target to replace him.

With no one certain how Thatcher Demko would be at handling the starter’s workload, a veteran was wanted. It had to be someone who was capable of a near-random number of starts: if Demko needed more rest or practice than the compressed schedule allowed, Holtby was going to start more. If Demko shone, Holtby could start less than expected. The veteran had gone through pretty much this in his last years with the Washington Capitals, with three different goalies in his last three years threatening to take his spot. Coming in with a Cup ring, even from a few years ago, was a nice bonus.

He was also one of the many, many Canucks players to get hit with the COVID-19 outbreak in April. While he shone in their return to play, beating the North-leading Toronto Maple Leafs in back-to-back games, it was a brief recovery. In the 21 games Holtby started, he managed just a .889 save percentage, the worst such mark in his career.

What This Means

Ultimately, while Holtby’s numbers haven’t been what was hoped during his Vancouver tenure, it’s the finances. He has a $4.3 million cap hit with a salary even higher at $5.7 million for 2021-22. The buyout will cost the team $3.8 million over the next two years. With the addition of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland, the Canucks are ridding themselves of bad contracts. Now they are freeing up money to sign Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson to mention Garland as well.

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