The gap between the end of a disappointing fourth season with the Washington Capitals and the resulting turnover that soon followed felt like it had whipped past, so Braden Holtby had little time to dwell. First, he was stomaching the aftermath of the lowest save percentage and goals-against average of his brief NHL career, reconciling a strong final month with the confidence issues that preceded it. But before long, a new regime was blowing into town, with it a repeated and concentrated commitment to the 24-year-old Holtby as its unequivocal starter. If general manager Brian MacLellan, Coach Barry Trotz and the Capitals have their druthers in their maiden season together, there will be no revolving door in the net, no four goalies cycling and causing confidence issues along the way. It will simply be Holtby, with free agent acquisition Justin Peters as the backup. Nothing complicated or confidence-threatening about that. “I’ve heard it,” Holtby said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “It’s nice to have some confidence in you to start. But I always know in the past, and obviously the last few years, you’re only as good as the game you start next. It’s nice to have confidence in me that they believe in what I can do, and I do as well, but once we get on the ice, I want to fight for every game I can play and make sure that confidence is in the right place and it’s up to me to find it.” Set back by changes to his goaltending style under former coach Adam Oates, Holtby started just once between Dec. 21 and Jan. 17, but closed the season strong with an 8-2-2 record over the final 14 games, once he returned to an approach that felt more natural. Now, he welcomes one of the NHL’s most renowned coaches at the position, armed with the quirky props Holtby happens to know well.
‘An exciting time’ for Capitals goalie Braden Holtby
Washington Post | Aug 6