It seems like for the last two weeks leading up to free agency, the Canucks were really just focused on two main assignments.
One was their push to trade for Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. As the Coyotes captain and his agent’s deadline for a trade before 9:00 am PDT did not transpire, it’s now been reported that Ekman-Larsson is remaining in Arizona.
The other main task the Canucks seemed to be focused on this week was re-signing Jacob Markstrom. We now know that Markstrom is not re-signing in Vancouver. Instead, the Canucks have signed Braden Holbty.
The deal is reported to be a two-year deal with an average annual value of $4.3 million per season. Holtby will be paid the majority of his contract in the second year of his deal.
The #Canucks have officially announced and signed the Holtby deal.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) October 9, 2020
Interesting structural element to the contract here as VAN has pushed as much cash as is permissible out to the 2nd year of the deal:
2020-21: $2.9 million
2021-22: $5.7 million
The Vancouver Canucks have signed UFA goalie Braden Holtby to a 2-year, $8.6M contract ($4.3M AAV).— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 9, 2020
TSN’s Bob McKenzie has confirmed that the netminder’s new deal does NOT include a No-Movement Clause. That comes as no surprise, since the Canucks will almost assuredly protect Demko and expose Holtby in the Seattle Expansion Draft next season.
Holtby’s two-year deal with VAN does not include a NMC so with the two-year term, he is eligible to be made available in Seattle expansion draft. He does have a limited NTC, though.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2020
Holtby contract. clause is a 4-team no-trade list https://t.co/rNnlwVmSfp— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020
Holtby has spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the Washington Capitals. He has a career save percentage of .916, but his play fell off a cliff last season with his save percentage dropping to .897.
Braden Holtby, signed 2x$4.3M in VAN, fell off big time this season. If he can bounce back this could look good, and at least the term is short. If it doesn't, well, hope Demko can get things done. #Canucks pic.twitter.com/H4hTvShWoj— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 9, 2020
Although it hurts to lose Markstrom, the Canucks do have an established NHL goaltender to play in tandem with Demko. The two-year deal would also allow the Canucks to expose Holtby in the Seattle expansion draft next season as well.
The Canucks are clearly banking on a bounce-back season from Holtby, who ironically enough, is the same age as Markstrom. With a condensed schedule next season, it was imperative that the team have two capable goaltenders.
Holtby’s Canucks career already seems to be off to a good start.
One of the first things Braden Holtby did after signing with Canucks was ask for Thatcher Demko’s phone number. Holtby has to perform, but sounds like he’s going to be good teammate/mentor.— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) October 9, 2020
What are your thoughts on the signing?
Holtby a Canuck— Nucks Misconduct (@nucksmisconduct) October 9, 2020
Aside from his terrible season last year, there’s a few reasons to like the Holtby signing.
- He’s an experienced guy who should be a good mentor for Thatcher Demko.
- His cap hit could be off the books as early as next season if Seattle tries to claim him.
- He gets to work with Ian Clark next season.
Markstrom signs with the Calgary Flames
The Canucks are going to be seeing a lot of Jacob Markstrom over the next few seasons.
It was rumoured for most of the morning that both Alberta teams were pushing hard for Markstrom’s services. After Edmonton bowed out of the running, the Flames stepped up and signed Markstrom to a six-year, $36 million dollar deal.
6x6 for Markstrom— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 9, 2020
Markstrom is gonna get the term, $$$, and protection he wants with the Flames.— Irfaan Gaffar (@irfgaffar) October 9, 2020
At that price, in this writer’s opinion, it was probably the right move for the Canucks to let him walk.