Braden Holtby
Image: Holly Gunning/HF

Braden Holtby


Marshall Saskatchewan

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Eligible for draft:









4th round (93rd overall), 2008


202 lbs.

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2005-06: Braden Holtby made his WHL debut with Saskatoon with one appearance and played for the Saskatoon Blazers in the SMHL. Holtby made an impression in his first WHL appearance, stopping 49 of 53 shots against the Calgary Hitmen on January 4 and being named the game's top star despite losing, 4-3.

2006-07: Holtby handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for Saskatoon as a rookie; appearing in 51 games for the Blades. Despite the team's last-place finish in the WHL Eastern division, Holtby posted a respectable 3.21 GAA with a .895 save percentage and had 17 of the 27 wins for the Blades. Holtby served as starter Trevor Cann's backup for Team Canada at the WJC U-18 tournament in Finland. He saw his only action of the tournament in the third place game – relieving Cann for the last nine minutes and stopping 10 of 12 shots faced in an 8-3 loss to Sweden.

2007-08: Holtby was once again a workhorse for the Blades in his second WHL season. Saskatoon escaped the Eastern division cellar but fell short of making the playoffs. Holtby was 15th among WHL goalies with a .908 save percentage and faced the second-most shots of any goaltender (1,875). Holtby was 25-29 with 8 overtime losses and 1 shutout in 3,632 minutes of action over 64 games. He was rated fourth among North American goaltenders in the 2008 NHL entry Draft by Central Scouting.

2008-09: Holtby was dominant between the pipes as Saskatoon was one of the biggest turnaround stories in hockey – finishing with 20 more wins than they had in 2007-08 and winning the Eastern division regular season title. Holtby had 40 of the Blades' 49 wins and was 40-16 with 4 overtime losses and six shutouts. He finished with a 2.62 GAA and .910 save percentage. In the first round of the playoffs, the Blades were beaten by Lethbridge in a low-scoring, tight-checking series that went seven games. Holtby played all seven games for Saskatoon and finished with a 2.32 GAA and .912 save percentage. He was named to the WHL East First All Star Team. Holtby joined the Hershey Bears of the AHL following the WHL playoffs but did not appear in any games.

2009-10: Holtby spent time with the Capitals during his first professional season, but did not appear in any games. He was impressive in his stints with the Washington affiliates in Hershey (AHL) and South Carolina (ECHL). Holtby was initially recalled by the Capitals in November due to injury and then was also brought back to Washington to allow Michal Neuvirth to get playing time in Hershey during the Olympic Games. Holtby started the season with Hershey and won 2 of 3 starts including his first professional shutout (a 38-save effort against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on October 9) but with two experienced goalies in Hershey he was the odd-man out and was sent to South Carolina to get playing time. He appeared in one game with the Bears in November (a 3-2 shootout loss to Springfield on November 21) and then was re-called to Hershey for good on December 12. In 37 games with the Bears, he was 25-8 with 2 overtime losses and had a 2.32 GAA and .917 save percentage. Neuvirth saw the bulk of the action in the playoffs. In three games, Holtby was 2-1 with a 3.60 GAA and .857 save percentage. He made his first start in the Bears' first playoff game on April 14 game against Bridgeport and recorded 21 saves in a 4-3 overtime win. He suffered a 4-1 loss to the Sound Tigers in Game 4 of the five-game series and then stopped 27 shots in a 6-5 overtime win in the Bears' Game 3 win over Albany in the East Division finals. Hershey defeated Manchester and Texas after eliminating Albany to capture the Calder Cup. In 12 games with South Carolina, Holtby was 12-7 with 3 OT losses and had a 2.95 GAA and .911 save percentage. Both he and Stingrays' teammate Todd Ford were selected for the ECHL All-Star game and he stopped 15 of 20 shots faced for the American squad.

2010-11: Holtby had an impressive second season with the Capitals' organization – winning 10 of 14 decisions in his time with Washington and being selected to the AHL All-Star game for his play with Hershey. Holtby won his first two starts with the Caps after being recalled in November and would be brought up four times in all. In addition to winning 10 games he had 2 shutouts with a 1.79 GAA and .934 save percentage. In 30 games with the AHL's Bears he was 17-15-2 with 5 shutouts and a 2.29 GAA and .920 save percentage. Holtby played in all six games in the Bears' first round playoff loss to East Division rival Charlotte and was 2-4 with a 3.01 GAA and .893 save percentage.

2011-12: Holtby emerged as the playoff starter for the Capitals after injuries to both Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth and acquitted himself well. In Washington's two seven-game series with Boston and the Rangers he was 7-7 and had a 1.95 goals against and .935 save percentage. Holtby appeared in seven regular season games for the Caps and was 4-3 with one shutout; posting a 2.49 goals against and .922 save percentage. He spent most of the season splitting the goaltending chores with veteran Dany Sabourin for Washington AHL affiliate Hershey. He played 40 games for the Bears and was 20-17 with 3 shutouts and had a 2.61 goals against and .906 save percentage.


Talent Analysis

Holtby has the prototypical size that scouts look for in a goalie and is a sound technical goalie that plays a butterfly style. His positioning and top of the net awareness are sometimes an issue as he's been beaten by high shots at times. He has an above average glove hand and displays strong athleticism in net. Holtby has the stamina and conditioning level to handle a big workload - he was one of the busiest goalies in terms of shots and minutes played during his junior career. As is typical of many young goalies, he can be inconsistent at times. In terms of intangibles, whether it is just a matter of having been in the right place on strong teams or that he elevates the play of the team around him, Holtby has won a lot of games the past two seasons. In several NHL games, showed the fiery, competitive side of his game and his will to win.



Much like last season, Holtby will have his work cut out for him trying to supplant Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth on the NHL roster. Most likely he’ll get the lion’s share of the starts in Hershey (AHL). He’ll see time if injury problems strike, but he is likely still a year away from solidifying his spot in the NHL. As soon as next season, he could be platooning with Neuvirth and making his case to be the long-term starter. He has the talent and the drive; it’s just a matter of seizing the opportunities he’s given.


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