Holtby drawing interest from teams, Canucks GM says: report

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Braden Holtby is receiving interest from other teams, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Friday.

“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 an NHL career-worst 3.67 goals-against average and .889 save percentage in 21 games this season, his first with the Canucks after signing a two-year, $8.6 million contract Oct. 9.

He became the backup in early February to Thatcher Demko, who started 35 games and was 16-18-1 with a 2.85 GAA, .915 save percentage and one shutout. The 25-year-old signed a five-year, $25 million contract ($5 million average annual value) with the Canucks on April 8, 2021.

Vancouver (23-29-4) finished last in the seven-team Scotia North Division, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.

Holtby, who turns 32 on Sept. 16, played his first 10 NHL seasons with 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.

On Friday, the Canucks acquired defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes for three draft picks, including No. 9 in the 2021 NHL Draft, and forwards Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel.

“The hard part for me, obviously, was trading the ninth pick overall,” Benning said. “But I just feel like our team needs to take the next step, and adding a top-pairing defenseman and a top-six forward is something that we talked about was on our wish list to start off. So to be able to do that, plus get rid of some contracts, I’m happy we got the deal done.”

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