Holtby signs with Canucks
Braden Holtby signed a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Holtby should be viewed as a top 10 fantasy goalie option again with renewed upside for the Canucks, a trendy fantasy team with a high ceiling in the seasons ahead. Vancouver has one of the best young cores in the NHL with elite skaters in center Elias Pettersson, defenseman Quinn Hughes and left wing J.T. Miller, along with valuable right wing Brock Boeser and center Bo Horvat.
Holtby, 31, is expected to get the majority of the starts this season but could split time with Thatcher Demko, who looked like a future starter in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 2-1-0 with a .985 save percentage and one shutout in four games (including three starts facing elimination). Holtby and Demko, who turns 25 on Dec. 8, are worth targeting as a duo in standard 12-team fantasy leagues, especially with Jacob Markstrom entering free agency.
Holtby went 25-14-6 last season but fell short of fantasy expectations with an .897 save percentage, the lowest of his NHL career. Fantasy owners should be aware of Holtby’s underwhelming peripherals over the past three seasons (.906 in span), but he should get plenty of goal support considering Vancouver’s offense ranked eighth in goals per game (3.25) and fourth on the power play (24.2 percent) last season.
Lundqvist signs with Capitals
Henrik Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist is a must-handcuff player for projected starter Ilya Samsonov and worth drafting in the final rounds of standard 12-team fantasy leagues with the expectation of at least a slight bounce back in a mentorship role for one of the safest fantasy teams.
The veteran goalie was 10-12-3 with the New York Rangers last regular season and 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in a diminished role behind younger options Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Lundqvist saw the lowest save percentage of his NHL career last season (.905), his second straight season playing below a .910 (.907 in 2018-19).
But, despite the declining numbers, Lundqvist, 38, could bring value as a No. 3 or 4 fantasy goalie in a backup role to Samsonov, who did not play in the postseason because of injury but had an impressive rookie season (16 wins in 26 games, .913 save percentage), especially after Holtby signed with the Canucks. Lundqvist could also benefit from the Capitals hiring coach Peter Laviolette, who is known for making an immediate impact with his new teams over the years.
Lundqvist’s .919 even-strength save percentage last season was tied for 23rd in the League with Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators among those to play at least 30 games. The Capitals scored the fifth-most goals at 5-on-5 last season (157) behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs (161 each), Colorado Avalanche (159) and Florida Panthers (158), which should give Lundqvist plenty of goal support with the Capitals’ offensive core still intact.
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