Hershey Bears goaltender, Braden Holtby had quite a playoff run last season with the Washington Capitals. The 23 year old net-minder earned seven wins in goal last postseason, while posting an outstanding 1.95 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
However, before his call up to the NHL, the Capitals fourth round selection from the 2008 NHL entry draft struggled in the AHL. He posted a 2.61 goals against average during the 2011-2012 regular season with the Bears, compared to a 2.29 performance the previous season at the AHL level.
Due to the NHL lockout this season, talent from the best hockey league in the world has moved to the AHL. There will quite a crop of future stars this season, in what is called the developmental league for the NHL.
“You can’t really say the NHL isn’t better than the AHL,” Holtby said. “But at the same time for a goalie it’s basically how many scoring chances you get against.”
Following last night’s 27 goal effort in Hershey’s preseason finale against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Holtby stated that he can improve in many areas to become a better goaltender.
“I felt a lot better today than last game and through our practices this past week. It’s a good sign, but there’s still things to work on, still stuff I got lucky with especially in screens.”
He discussed his season last year in Hershey, admitting he might have taken the AHL for granted.
“I learned the lesson last year that it’s a lot harder than you think and you can’t really take anything for granted in this league. It’s still the top players in the world; it’s a very thin line between the AHL and the NHL.”