Braden Holtby was set to be the biggest beneficiary when the Capitals traded Semyon Varlamov to the Avalanche on July 1. The plan was to rely on the kids – Holtby and Michal Neuvirth – until they signed veteran Tomas Vokoun a little over a day later.
At the time, general manager George McPhee said he hadn’t spoken to Holtby, who was lakeside back in Canada.
“[Goaltending coach] Dave Prior will do that,” McPhee said July 2. “The situation isn’t any different for Brayden than it was three days ago.”
But Prior told The Washington Times on Monday that he hadn’t spoken with Holtby about his emotional yo-yo act.
“I talked to him before we traded Varly and I have not talked to him since. But that’s fine,” Prior said. “That is the life in pro sports – you don’t control it.”
Prior praised Holtby for being ahead of schedule – “This is really his year to show he can be a No. 1 in the American League. He demonstrated that last year,” he said.
Holtby talked to The Times the morning after the Varlamov trade – and before the Vokoun signing – and showed off some grounded maturity.
“I just wanna get a chance to play,” he said. “I’m pretty fortunate I can be a professional hockey player in general.”
Patience is now key for Holtby.
“So for me, he shouldn’t be impatient,” Prior said “This is something that any good, knowledgeable goaltender should recognize how good Tomas Vokoun is in this league, so I don’t think it’s an issue with Braden.”