The Washington Capitals have recalled goaltender Braden Holtby from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) and assigned defenseman Karl Alzner to Hershey, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Goaltender Jose Theodore, who played the first two periods of last night’s win at the New York Islanders, is day-to-day with an injury.
Holtby, 20, is a first-year pro who stands 6’1”, 209 pounds. He has split this season with Hershey and the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) while also making an appearance as a backup for the Capitals Oct. 17 vs. Nashville.
Holtby has posted a 15-2-1 record with Hershey and leads the AHL with a 1.82 goals-against average. His .935 save percentage ranks third in the league and he has won four straight games for the Bears. In South Carolina Holtby posted a 7-2-1-2 record with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage, earning a spot in the ECHL All-Star Game.
The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native was the Capitals’ fourth-round choice, 93rd overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Holtby, No. 70 with Washington, is available for tonight’s game against Anaheim.
Alzner, 21, has split this season between the Capitals (18 games, five assists) and Hershey (27 games, one goal, five assists).
COMMENT: It will be interesting to see if Holtby gets a game this weekend, however, based on the way Theodore has been carrying the load lately Neuvirth needs the work while #60 is out. In addition, the jump from the AHL to the NHL is a huge one for a goaltender as the shots are faster and more precise. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau is very good at not putting a netminder in until he feels the goalie is ready. So the opportunity for Holtby to play will likely be based on how well he practices and there is no need to rush him and potentially hurt his confidence level. As for Alzner, with Brian Pothier due back from injury the log jam at defense starts up again (Tyler Sloan was scratched last night too) so King Karl is the easiest one to send down since he does not have to clear waivers.