The move essentially closes the Jacob Markstrom chapter in Vancouver, concluding his time as a Canuck after seven years with the organization including three as the team’s No. 1 netminder. As the top goalie on the UFA market, Markstrom’s excellent play the past few years priced him out of Vancouver, and the emergence of Thatcher Demko plus the impending Seattle expansion draft made the prospect of signing (and keeping) Markstrom long-term tricky.
Holtby is an excellent veteran addition to the Canucks’ crease in Markstrom’s place, and his short-term deal comes at a price that’s both affordable and mutually beneficial for a team looking for veteran help alongside Demko and a goalie seeking a landing spot that will allow him to regain his game. Despite struggling with consistency and seeing some of his lowest numbers last season, Holtby is a proven winner just two seasons removed to backstopping the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup. Prior to that, he won the Vezina Trophy in 2015-16 followed by the William M. Jennings Trophy one year later. The 31-year-old hit the mark after the Capitals turned the crease over to rookie Ilya Samsonov this past year.
“We are pleased to add Braden, an experienced and established goaltender, to our roster,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in the team’s press release. “Braden is a Stanley Cup champion, brings leadership and has demonstrated the ability to rise to the occasion in big games. He will be an important part of our team.”