The Dallas Stars have signed 31-year-old Canadian goaltender, Braden Holtby on a 1-year contract worth 2million. Will this be a good fit for both parties? And will this be Holtby’s last shot at becoming a top goaltender again? Or better yet, will he even get much ice time. The NHL Odds on his new team to win the Stanley Cup is currently +3500 with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).
Holtby’s Recent History
Braden Holtby has seen his SV% drop from 925. Back in 2017 to an 889. at the end of last season. He played 21 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season winning 7 and losing 11. We know Holtby has big performances in him for an extended period of time, he has some tremendous accolades in the NHL, from Stanley Cup winner in 2018 to Venezia winner in 2016, Jennings trophy winner in 2017 and a 4-time all-star. Holtby also sits 9th overall for the most career shutouts in the NHL.
Will this be the right fit for Holtby?
A Confusing Fit
It is somewhat puzzling at the time of writing as to why the Dallas Stars signed Holtby in free agency, they already have three pretty solid goaltenders. Let’s start with Ben Bishop, there’s been virtually no word from his camp and the theory is he will most likely retire. It looks as though the Stars might go with Khudobin / Holtby duo sharing the goaltender duties 50/50 and sending Oettinger back down to the AHL to play with the Texas Rangers.
Overall it’s not a bad look, should Holtby underperform, they could easily place him on waivers and bring back up Oettinger. Another strong theory is they may look to trade Khudobin and go with a Holtby / Oettinger duo.
Holtby’s Last Stand
The heading above would be the title to describe a film or book on the season that Holtby is about to have because when looking at his numbers over the past few seasons, we can see that he is a goaltender in decline and is showing no signs of improving. It all started towards the end of the 2017/18 season, his performances in the Playoffs were so bad that the Capitals decided to place Philipp Grubauer as the number 1 goaltender for the start of next season. Evidently, Holtby was back as number 1 within the first few games of the season and they only went on to win their first-ever Stanley Cup.
Holtby was superb in the Playoffs on that Stanley Cup run, but next season he fell below 90 SV% and lost in the first round of the playoffs. He was shipped out to the Canucks then last season where he put up some bad numbers.
The big question is what can Holtby bring to this Stars team and how far can they realistically go? Well, we think Holtby can be a solid backup goaltender, but definitely not their number 1. Both Dallas goaltenders outperformed Holtby last season and Oettinger outperformed both Khudobin and Holtby but will most likely be 3rd choice in the rotation, which seems harsh in our eyes, not unless Dallas are planning on trading Khudobin.
How Can Holtby Help
Look it’s this simple, Holtby is past his prime and isn’t going back there, or even close to it ever again. So what can he do this season for the Stars? We believe his biggest attribute here could be his experience, and it’s most likely one of the reasons he was brought into the Stars, to sure up the young team and be a possible leader. In terms of on the ice, he can pick up a few wins here and there and honestly is he played 30 games and went 15/15 we would consider that a good season all around.
At this stage and level of his career, he just needs to make sure his team wins when he is on the ice no matter what. My advice to Holtby this season would be something along the lines of “When teams are cruising most nights you can worry about stats, but when you’re an almost washed-up 31-year-old they should be low on your list of things to worry about, go out and get that W for your team”.