Braden Holtby understands he might get very used to that trip on I-83 from Hershey to Washington. Such is the role of a young goaltender who doesn’t have to go through waivers and has proven he can play in the NHL.
So when he found out from Bears general manager Doug Yingst on Wednesday night that the Capitals had made the call to bring him up, it was just another day in the life.
“The goal doesn’t change, really. It’s still preseason,” Holtby said Thursday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I’m still trying to get my legs under me. It doesn’t matter if it’s Washington or Hershey – I’m just trying to work my best in practice and make sure I’m ready for the regular season.”
Naturally any chance Holtby gets with the Caps is another opportunity to show himself, but the team saw plenty last season when he went 10-2-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in his NHL cameo.
But that experience only fed the hunger.
“I’m still improving. It doesn’t really change much,” Holtby said. “My goal is to be a top goaltender in this league, not just an NHL player. When it comes to that, I’m still working with that goal.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau expects Michal Neuvirth to be back practicing Saturday, so it’s possibly Holtby won’t be around for long. But that’s just the spot the 22-year-old is in right now.
“I’m going about my business no matter where I am,” he said.