Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
We’re going to try to be restrained and professional here.
Cap Hit: $637,777. Holtby is signed through 2012-13, and will be RFA on expiration of that contract. Holtby’s salary was also the best salary to use in mocking Ilya Bryzgalov and Flyers fans this year.
Milestones: Braden Holtby played in the NHL playoffs for the first time, and also became the first rookie goalie to beat a reigning Conn Smythe goalie in a series. Not a bad debut. He also had his first child, born the day before Game Seven of the second round.
Best Moment: Rich Peverly trying to spook Holtby and getting an ice-cold stare in return.
Best Hershey Moment: Taunting the Baby Pens with an exuberant celebration. He also got to be a part of the AHL’s Outdoor Winter Classic this season, and played baseball on the ice during warmups.
Things We Said About Braden Holtby: “Braden Holtby is a hero.”
Alignment: Chaotic Good
First Irrelevant Google Images Result:
We suspect Peter has something to do with this search result.
Media Consensus: “We are not necessarily rooting for the Caps, but we find Braden Holtby irresistible.”
Spirit Animal: Young lion.
Alternate Universe Superhero Identity: Holtbeast
Team Role: Third-string goalie developing in the AHL.
Execution of that Role: That was exactly what he was for the majority of the year — in fact, Holtby’s numbers weren’t even particularly good in the AHL, posting a .906 SV% and a 2.61 GAA for the year. But when he was called up to the big club, he was excellent in increasingly important games, ending with a .922 SV% in the NHL.
Postseason Performance: When Vokoun and Neuvirth both went down with injury just before the playoffs began, Braden Holtby became abruptly both the first and only string goalie. All the fanbase could do was hope that the rookie netminder could hold up under the pressure. He exceeded expectations in every way, matching the reigning Stanley Cup goaltender and then a Vezina nominee goal for goal and looking good doing it. The Kettler Iceplex couldn’t keep Holtby gear in stock.
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky Photography)
Holtby’s beard was so powerful that it consumed his neck. It seems that his hair also grew at least two inches during the postseason.
Likeliness to Return: Nine out of ten. The Caps are again down to the young tandem of Neuvirth and Holtby, and that’s just fine with everybody.
Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Holtby is tough, unshakable and bounces back well after defeat. He’d be a steadying force to any survival party, though you’d have to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t abruptly wander too far from camp. Seven out of ten.
Other: His parents were easily the most endearing part of the playoffs. No one else’s parents should even try.
Playoffs MVP: Braden Holtby’s hair.
GIF by nikkiri.tumblr.com
Overall Year-End Rating: Ten Good Sashas.
For statistical analysis of Holtby’s season, see Japers’ Rink or Peerless’ upcoming piece.