Braden Holtby Image – Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire
Braden Holtby has become a popular name in trade talk as the March 21 deadline approaches because he’s enjoying a bounce-back season with a .912 save percentage for the Dallas Stars and is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
One thing any team acquiring the Vezina Trophy- and Stanley Cup-winning Holtby can count on is a goalie who anticipates the game at an exceptional level, which shone through in his first two Pro Reads and makes him the perfect guest for our latest video breakdown session.
This sequence features an even-man, 4-on-4 rush but it’s against the Boston Bruins “Perfection Line,” a dominant trio of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak:
As the play gets inside the left face-off circle in the photo above, Bergeron makes a drop pass to Marchand, with Pastrnak on the far side approaching the top of the face-off circle, and a Bruins defenseman joining the rush along the wall to Marchand’s left. As the goalie facing this, who do you think represents the most dangerous threat? What do you make of Holtby’s positioning?
Is there anything about Pastrnak, or how he’s covered, in this situation that changes the read?
Watch the entire sequence to see how this played out in real time and how Holtby handled it.
There may not seem to be much to that save, but as so many NHL goalies have told us over the years, their favourite saves are the ones that make look easy. And this is one of the best lines in hockey, a trio capable of making the world’s best look silly, so let’s see how Holtby read this play, and what information he looked for that allowed him to hold his ground like that.
THE PRO READ
Let’s check in with Holtby to find out:
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