5. Braden Holtby
This one is coming up a lot, and it makes sense. Braden Holtby is a goaltender who resurrected his career again this past season with the Dallas Stars. He had a rough ending to his tenure in Vancouver, and they ended up buying out his contract for a decent price just to get out of it. Meanwhile, the Stars were able to get him for a cheaper price, and he a .913 save percentage backing up Jake Oettinger.
Holtby is just 32 years old. He had some years where he was considered one of the better goalies in the league. He has his name on the Stanley Cup as a starting goalie. Holtby just needs a chance to keep his NHL career going. Coming to the Devils gives him an interesting opportunity. The Devils actually have a pretty good defense when it comes to keeping high-danger chances off the board. Maybe that’s hard to believe, but that’s what the numbers say.
Holtby was the 24th in the league in goals saved above average. The best Devils goalie was ranked 37th (Bernier). Nico Daws ranked 51st and Mackenzie Blackwood ranked 69th (out of 76). The Devils would be getting a very serviceable goalie in free agency. Sure, he will cost more than a lot of the others on the list, but he’s worth it at this point.
Holtby was a little worst than most in terms of stopping the high-danger chances, and that comes with age. However, the Devils system avoids the biggest issues (well, at least outside the power play). They want to suppress chances. Of course, that was under Alain Nasreddine. Under a new defensive coach, that might change. One would think Lindy Ruff wants to find a coach that brings a similar philosophy since the defense wasn’t the major issue last year. That could help Holtby find his game more often than not.