Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby. (Photo by Scott Slingsby)

It is fitting that Braden Holtby was named the CCM American Hockey League goaltender of the month for December, given last year’s playoff hero for the Washington Capitals recently made the switch to the new CCM EXtreme Flex Pro pads.

In 10 appearances during December, Holtby posted a 1.69 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and three shutouts while going 5-4-1 despite giving up one goal or less in six of those 10 starts. Included in his award-winning month was a 26-save effort in a 2-1 win over Norfolk at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., the site of so many of his playoff heroics last season.

Holtby, who was expected to compete with Michael Neuvirth for the Capitals starting job before the lockout landed him back in the AHL, also stopped 62 of 63 in back-to-back wins in St. John’s, before posting his third shutout in a five-game span with 33 saves in a 2-0 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 26.

Holtby is sixth in the AHL with a 2.15 goals-against average, third with a .932 save percentage, and tied for second with four shutouts in 23 games with Hershey. When the NHL season resumes, the 23-year-old native of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan looks ready to pick up where he left off in Washington, having led the Capitals within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Braden Holtby was featured in the October edition of InGoal Magazine.

Braden Holtby was featured in the October edition of InGoal Magazine.

None of which should come as a shock to anyone who read the cover story on Holtby in the October edition of InGoal Magazine, which detailed the many ways he spent the summer preparing – both between the pipes and between the ears – for this season.

As for that new CCM EXtreme Flex equipment, InGoal was the first to get a close in-depth look at the new stuff during a September trip to Montreal for a day on the ice – and a photo shoot – with Carey Price and Canadiens goaltending coach Pierre Groulx. We revealed more details about the new gear in both an online teaser and the October edition of InGoal Magazine, and will have a complete review of our test set in the next issue in March. InGoal also got to spend a day with the men behind the new equipment, Michel and Patrick Lefevre, and a tour of their factory outside Montreal, and shared some of the details in an Ask a Pro segment.

As for Holtby, he was also featured in the new gear as part of a video promotion for the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic in Hershey, but with the game set for January 20 and talk about the NHL returning the day before, he may not get to play in it:

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