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Holtby, Not Demko May Get Start In Goal For Canucks

It appears veteran goaltender Braden Holtby is edging out Thatcher Demko as the potential starter in net for the Vancouver Canucks.

As the Vancouver Canucks get set for the 2020-21 NHL season, the question over who gets the start in goal for the team has become an interesting one. While it might not have been the thought going into camp, so far, it appears the veteran and former Vezina Trophy Winner in Braden Holtby has the inside track over the player many believed was the Canucks’ future number one guy in Thatcher Demko.

Related: Corey Crawford Officially Announces Retirement from NHL

When Holtby was signed by the Canucks in free agency, it was believed he’d likely be Demko’s backup as the Canucks felt confident enough in Demko’s play that they let Jacob Markstrom walk in free agency. Arguably the best goaltender in the free agent market leaving for nothing meant Canucks GM Jim Benning felt comfortable investing in Demko as his future No. 1 netminder.

But, as Dan Murphy and Iain McIntyre discussed recently, one of the surprises at Canucks training camp seems to be that Holtby has the edge in terms of who might start the first game of the season against the Edmonton Oilers.

McIntyre said:

“Braden Holtby did come out and he was in the home net, which is typically the starter’s net, and I have to say, he probably has been the sharper of the two goalies this week.”

He went on to add that Demko struggled a lit bit during the scrimmage while Holtby looks like he’s getting a little bit sharper as each day of camp progresses. “I think Holtby is the starter.”

Both Goalies Will Play A Lot

Unlike a lot of other teams where it might be an 80/20 split in net, in Vancouver, it appears both Demko and Holtby will get their fair share of starts. Whether that means the net will be split 50/50 is unclear, but the Canucks will be looking to find the right combination of games as McIntyre called the goaltending the team’s biggest question mark.

Fortunately for the Canucks, the veteran goaltenders who signed with the NHL teams this offseason haven’t had the best of luck to date. Henrik Lundqvist was forced to leave the Washington Capitals with a medical condition and Corey Crawford retired on Saturday. It appears the Canucks invested wisely.

He won Vezina Trophy in 2015-16 and appears to have a lot left to offer.

Braden Holtby Vancouver Canucks Camp

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