Thanks for Everything, Braden Holtby!

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Posted October 9, 2020

(Photos by Caps Outsider)

Players come and go, but when they seem like a permanent fixture of the team, and then they’re gone, it’s just plain hard. The latest is Braden Holtby, who signed with the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-year, $8.6M contract ($4.3M AAV), according to reports. Either way, he’s no longer a Cap.

“We want to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals,” said general manager Brian MacLellan. “Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and on our community. Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with his stellar play in 2018 cements his position as one of the best goalies of his era.  Off the ice, he led by example and consistently made a positive impact across several important initiatives. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

The 31-year old goaltender, known fondly as Holtbeast, began his junior hockey career with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL).  In his second WHL season, he was drafted by the Capitals in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. After a couple years with the AHL Hershey Bears, the primary development club for the Washington Capitals, Holtby became the starting goaltender for the Caps during the abbreviated 2012-2013 season.  He quickly became a fan favorite. Since then, he’s won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 for being the league’s best goaltender, the William M. Jennings Trophy for helping the Caps to allow the fewest goals, and the Stanley Cup in 2018.

Aside from his stellar play and astonishing saves, Holtby’s “moves” off the ice will be missed and always remembered.  He was the Caps’ Ambassador for the LGBTQ community. He and his wife Brandi represented the Caps each year in the Gay Pride Parade held annually in Washington, D.C.   Always keeping the community in mind, the Holtby’s recently donated 25,000 meals to the Capital Area Food Bank at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holtby was a leader in the locker room as well. His teammate, Tom Wilson, referred to him as the “heart of the team.”  He would keep the team calm by playing his guitar in the locker room prior to games. He continued that tradition during the 2020 playoffs in the quarantine bubble.

Holtby became a free agent as the Caps’ postseason play ended in September 2020.  He  repeatedly expressed his desire to stay in Washington, but it wasn’t meant to be.

It’s hard to imagine a Caps game without Holtby between the pipes. We reluctantly say goodbye, wish him well and thank him for all of the thrilling saves and wonderful memories.