The Vancouver Canucks are currently placed seventh in the North division with only the Ottawa Senators behind them. They are 9-15-2 but goaltending is not the problem.
In net for them is Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko. Holtby was a hot ticket in the most recent free agency and had a lot of places to potentially sign to. We will never know which ones he was considering for himself but here he is in Vancouver.
A two-year contract worth $4.3 million per year is somewhat unusual for a 31 year old who has been a starter for the last seven years. Signing Holtby to this type of contract implies that he is simply the bridge for Vancouver’s starting goaltenders between Jacob Markstrom and Demko.
In the 2020 playoffs, Thatcher Demko shined. He showed that he can not only hold his own at the highest level, but steal games for Vancouver. This seemed to be the final sign that they would be okay in the long run without Markstrom.
Thatcher Demko is only 25 and has already developed into an excellent NHL goalie. The two years on Braden Holtby’s contract might be all Demko needs to develop into a full-time starter for the team that drafted him in 2014.
As for Holtby’s long term future with Vancouver, it is absolutely possible that he re-signs after these two years. We have no idea how ‘ready’ Thatcher Demko will be to take on the net full time but it could be in Vancouver’s best interest to keep Holtby around to help him with the workload.
One more thing to keep in mind is Michael DiPietro. Drafted in 2017, this 21-year-old has remained on the Canucks Taxi squad this entire season. Last year he did well for the Utica Comets but has not played a game since last year. He has always been very talented and should be something big in a few years.
The Vancouver Canucks have Thatcher Demko getting better and better each year, Braden Holtby’s experience, and some young talent in the pipeline. Goaltending is the least of their worries.