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Canucks sign Braden Holtby, Markstrom signs monster deal with the Calgary Flames

There’s been a major shake-up in Vancouver’s crease.

Washington Capitals v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Five
Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

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 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.

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.

What are your thoughts on the signing?

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.

At that price, in this writer’s opinion, it was probably the right move for the Canucks to let him walk.