Geek of the Week: Braden Holtby

by Scott Maran on March 5, 2017

Is Braden Holtby fantasy hockey's top goalie this season?

After last year’s dominant performance throughout the regular season, it was a sure thing that the Washington Capitals would be right back at the top of the standings this year. Armed with the same elite talent they had last season, this Capitals team is once again leading the league in points and goal differential, up on the second-place Minnesota Wild by five points. However, despite the explosive talent on the backend and in the top-six, enough credit isn’t being given to the massive improvement in goal. Braden Holtby has always been an excellent goaltender, but this year he’s hit another level, destroying previous career highs and leading the league in several categories. Devan Dubnyk has gotten lot of praise this season, but Braden Holtby is the star of fantasy hockey.

Drafted by the Capitals in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, Holtby was one of the Capitals’ best goalie prospects as he came up in the system. And after spending one full season in the AHL where he recorded a .917 save percentage over 37 games, Holtby began facing NHL competition in the following year. While still getting time in the AHL, for the next three seasons Holtby would get into 57 NHL games, impressing many with 37 wins and a .923 save percentage. He quickly became the Capitals’ number one starter and has shouldered most of the starts since.

Though he also had an excellent season two years ago, Holtby really broke out as one of the best fantasy hockey goalies last year. Starting in 66 games for the Capitals, Holtby secured 48 wins while maintaining a .922 save percentage, eight wins more than second-place Jonathan Quick’s 40 wins. As he was also tied for the eighth-highest save percentage in the league, Holtby easily won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie and placed fourth in the Hart Trophy voting.

Now Holtby is arguably even having a better season this year, but it doesn’t seem like as many people are talking about it. Devan Dubnyk has stolen the spotlight even though Holtby is providing just as much fantasy value as him. But just how much value is Holtby providing?

We can figure that out with our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool. For our sample league, we’ll being using an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO with this season’s stats.



FHG Value





Braden Holtby







Devan Dubnyk







Sergei Bobrovsky







For the ranking, I ranked the goalies based on their total FHG value and included skaters too since I thought it better show the magnitude of how good Holtby (and Dubnyk) have been. Out of all NHL players, Holtby has provided the number one most value, beating out Devan Dubnyk by a pretty solid margin. And when you get past Dubnyk it’s not even close, with Bobrovsky’s value significantly lower than Holtby’s. Even though Holtby is slightly trailing Dubnyk’s wins and save percentage totals (by one win and .003 save percentage points), Holtby makes up for it with his insane goals-against average and shutout totals.

Over the past 10 years, Holtby currently has the second-lowest goals against average by any goalie who has played in at least 30 games. Brian Elliott’s 1.56 GAA in the 2011-12 season is the only one that’s lower than Holtby’s. Not to mention, Holtby is also killing it with his eight shutouts, leading the entire league. Peter Budaj is second with seven, and then Tuukka Rask is third with six, while Devan Dubnyk only has five to his name.

While Devan Dubnyk has rightfully got a lot of attention for his play, Holtby has been just as dominant, if not more. His save percentage and win totals are right on par with Dubnyk’s, but he leads the league in GAA and shutouts. His win totals may be a bit down from last year’s, but there’s no doubt that Holtby is once again the best fantasy hockey goalie for the season.

To identify more players with great value in your specific league settings, check out Fantasy Hockey Geek to generate custom rankings tailored for you. With the Season Toolkit, you can use our advanced tools to manage to the top and take down the title. Head to the Dobber Sports Shop and pick it up today!