Capitals GM expects goaltender Braden Holtby to test free agency

Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan confirms that he expects Braden Holtby to go to free agency, because the goalie market is unusually deep this offseason.

After a decade with the team, the Washington Capitals expect starting goaltender Braden Holtby to test the open market.

General manager Brian MacLellan spoke to reporters on Tuesday following the hiring of head coach Peter Laviolette and said he expects Holtby to reach free agency.

“I’d expect him to go to free agency. The goalie market is unusually deep this year,” MacLellan said during a Zoom call. “I talked to his agent last week briefly about where he’s at and the kind of opportunities he’s looking for.

“I would assume he goes to free agency and we’ll keep in contact with him throughout the free agency period and see if he’s getting what he wants.”

In 48 games this season, Holtby posted a 25-14-6 record while struggling with a 3.11 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. Holtby started every game for the Capitals upon the NHL’s restart, going 2-5-1 with a .906 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA as the Capitals were eliminated by the New York Islanders in their first-round series.

The 31-year-old backstopped the Capitals to their Stanley Cup win in 2018, won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and has a career 282-122-46 record with a .916 save percentage and a 2.53 GAA during his 10 seasons in Washington. The Lloydminster, Sask., native is coming off the final season of his five-year, $30.5-million contract.

Holtby was saw his role diminished during the regular season by the emergence of
Ilya Samsonov. The 23-year-old went 16-6-2 during the regular season with a .913 save percentage and a 2.55 GAA but was unable to join the Capitals in the NHL bubble because of an injury.

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