Braden Holtby Image – Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire
Braden Holtby is off to a great start with the Dallas Stars, posting a .924 save percentage through his first seven starts despite the team struggling a bit out of the gate.
While the pandemic prevented InGoal from getting time with the Vezina Trophy- and Stanley Cup-winning goalie during his one season with the Vancouver Canucks, we were able to sit down with Holtby this week for 30 minutes of video review and his Pro Reads debut.
Holtby is staring down a 3-on-1 against the Los Angeles Kings in this sequence, and it’s one that forms in the neutral zone, providing an excellent chance to ask what he’s looking for early.
Holtby is just coming into the picture in the freeze frame above and positioned atop his crease for this odd-man rush. In addition to identifying the key factors among the attacking players, what do you make of his depth decision here? Is there anything about that first part in terms of the opponents that you can see might go into where he is on the ice at the play hits the circle?
By the time the Kings puck carrier, defenseman Sean Walker, gets to the faceoff dot in the screenshot above, what has changed in terms of what you might expect to happen?
Holtby has retreated with the play, but is there anything else in his positioning or set up above that would lead you to believe he’s anticipating a pass or a shot?
Is he shooting or passing?
Now let’s watch the entire sequence to see how if it played out as you expected.
Does seeing it at full speed change anything about the way you would have played this 3-on-1?
Is there a point you are locking on the shooter instead of worrying about the pass?
When is it, and more importantly, why?
Do the pass options getting closer make it harder or easier to hold on Walker?
You might be surprised to hear Holtby’s answer to that last one.
THE PRO READ
Now let’s check in with Holtby for his explanation and breakdown of the save:
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Love the way he plays. My favorite goalie by far.