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New York Islanders Trading for Braden Holtby Could Work

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Goalie Braden Holtby
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Goalie Braden Holtby
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One of the big off-season questions for the New York Islanders is who will man the net next season. The Isles could be a landing spot for Braden Holtby.

The New York Islanders have two strong goalie prospects in the pipeline in Ilya Sorkin and Linus Soderstrom. Sorokin is still under contract in the KHL, while Soderstrom could come to North America next season but still needs more seasoning.

That’s where Braden Holtby could become an option for the Isles.

The Isles will be moving on from Jaroslav Halak (unrestricted free agent July 1st) which leaves them Thomas Greiss as the only current internal option. Christopher Gibson is a UFA come July.

The goalie options in free agency this summer are extremely lacking, especially with

Antti Raanta

re-signing with Arizona. If the Isles want to land a number one goalie they will have to do so via the trade market.

Enter Holtby. The former Vezina winning goalie is coming off a bad year for him. While his record of 34-16-4 was really good, his goals against average of 2.99 and save percentage of .907 is nowhere near his previous standards. Holtby’s prior three seasons he posted goals-against average between 2.07 – 2.22, along with a save percentage that fell inside of .922 – .925.

Holtby turns 29 in September and is signed for two more years with a cap hit of $6.1 million. Did Holtby just have a sub-par year or is this the beginning of a downward trend for him?

Caps

There are quite a few reasons why the Caps would consider trading Holtby this off-season. First and foremost, Washington has Philip Grubauer poised to take over the starting job. In addition, according to The Hockey News recent Future Watch issue, the Caps have the number one overall goalie prospect in Ilya Samsonov (18th overall) who is also close to starting his NHL career.

Furthermore, the Capitals are in a cap crunch (pun intended). John Carlson is scheduled to become a UFA come July. Unless a substantial contract is moved such as Holtby, hard to see Washington resigning Carlsson.

Thin Market

The good news for the Isles is it doesn’t appear there is a robust trade market for Holtby. Reason being is it’s a short list of teams who are looking for a starting goalie who thinks they can contend next season.

Outside of the Islanders, the only other team that fits the bill as a potential Holtby suitor is the Edmonton Oilers. Keep in mind Edmonton is also up against the cap and has Cam Talbot signed for one more year at $4.167 million.

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Given all of these factors, the trade cost for Holtby shouldn’t be prohibitive. A second-round pick and a secondary prospect could bring Holtby to Long Island.

There is no doubt that the Isles need to improve in net. Whether or not John Tavares is back is also a major factor in who the Isles should pursue this off-season. A deal for Holtby has the potential to be a windfall for the blue and orange.

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