The Vancouver Canucks have made a change in net, signing goaltender Braden Holtby to a two-year deal worth $8.6 million. Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) makes a save as New York Islanders centre Brock Nelson (29) looks for the rebound during first period NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Toronto, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Vancouver Canucks sign veteran goaltender Braden Holtby to 2-year deal

Each team can protect only one goalie in the Seattle expansion draft next year

Braden Holtby figures he’ll have no trouble fitting in with his new team.

The veteran netminder signed a two-year, US$8.6-million deal with Vancouver on Friday as the Canucks made a key change between the pipes on the opening day of free agency.

“I’m a guy who believes in hard work and competitiveness and a hard style of hockey. And you see a lot of the players on the Canucks that fit right into that mold,” the former Washington Capital told reporters on a video call.

“From an outsider looking in, I think it’s going to be a great fit and I’m really excited to get after it.”

Signing the five-time all-star means the Canucks are moving on from previous starter Jacob Markstrom, who also hit the free-agent market on Friday and signed a six-year deal with the Calgary Flames.

Holtby now becomes a teammate of 24-year-old goaltender Thatcher Demko, who nearly led the Canucks to a comeback victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference semifinal after Markstrom was injured in Game 4.

Each team can protect only one goalie in the Seattle expansion draft next year.

Heading into free agency, Holtby said he was looking for a city that was a good fit for his family and a team that had “an extremely good chance of winning.”

Holtby, 31, has spent his entire decade-long career with the Capitals, winning a Stanley Cup with the club in 2017-18.

The native of Lloydminster, Sask., posted a .916 save percentage with a 2.53 goals-against average and 282-122-46 record during his time in Washington.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a release that the team is pleased to add an “experienced and established goaltender” to the roster.

“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,” he said.

Holtby struggled last season, however, and his save percentage fell to .897 with a 3.11 goals-against average.

He admits that the season was “a bit of a struggle at times” and “didn’t go as planned.”

During the COVID-19 hiatus, Holtby worked with Washington goalie coach Scott Murray to break down his game and find ways to address what wasn’t working.

“When things came back, I felt as good as I have in a long time,” he said.

In Vancouver, Holtby will share the workload with the up-and-coming Demko.

The American made a name for himself during the Canucks’ playoff run, stealing a pair of games against the Golden Knights to force a Game 7. Demko posted a 13-10-2 record with a .905 save percentage in regular-season play.

Working with a talented young goalie will be exciting, Holtby said.

“You want to be able to push each other and have success that way and I think that’s really exciting to me,” he said. “Puts some young blood back into me, too. It’s always exciting to work with the young guys, they see things a different way too and you can learn a lot from them.”

Having two good goaltenders will be essential for any team looking to make a playoff push next year, Holtby added.

“It’s going to be a condensed schedule, it’s going to be a grind and I think you’re going to have two guys that are going to win games for you,” he said. “In order to have success as a team and a chance to win a championship, you need to have two goalies who are going to get you there.”

The Canucks also locked up Tyler Motte on Friday, signing the depth centre to a two-year deal worth $2.5 million.

Motte put up eight points (four goals, four assists) in 34 regular-season games with the Canucks last season. He also had a solid playoff run, adding five points (four goals, one assist) in 17 appearances.

“Tyler is a hard-working, physical player,” Benning said. “He adds versatility to our lineup, reads the game well and plays an important matchup role for our group.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

NHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Central Okanagan school anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

Most Read