Braden Holtby was placed on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract.
The 31-year-old goalie is will become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday. He signed a two-year, $8.6 million contract with the Canucks (average annual value $4.3 million) on Oct. 9, 2020.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning said July 23 that Holtby was receiving interest from other teams.
“There’s teams calling on Braden,” Benning told Sportsnet 650 Vancouver. “We’re going to look at the different opportunities that are presented to us for him. He’s a guy that’s won a Stanley Cup, he’s a good goalie, and so we’ll just see what happens the next few days.”
Holtby was 7-11-3 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .889 save percentage in 21 games this season; it was the highest GAA and lowest save percentage of his 11-season NHL career. He became the backup in early February to Thatcher Demko, who was 16-18-1 with a 2.85 GAA, .915 save percentage and one shutout in 35 games. The 25-year-old signed a five-year, $25 million contract ($5 million AAV) with the Canucks on April 8.
Holtby played his first 10 NHL seasons for the Washington Capitals and was 282-122-46 with a 2.53 GAA, .916 save percentage and 35 shutouts in 468 regular-season games (458 starts). He is 50-47 with a 2.13 GAA, .926 save percentage and seven shutouts in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games (96 starts) and helped Washington win the Cup in 2018, two seasons after being voted winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL.
The Canucks signed forward Conor Garland to a five-year, $24.75 million contract Tuesday. It has an average annual value of $4.95 million.
The 25-year-old could have become a restricted free agent Wednesday. He and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson were traded to the Canucks by the Arizona Coyotes on Friday for the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (forward Dylan Guenther) and forwards Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel.