Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Braden spent hispeepe junior career with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Blades struggled through his first two seasons with the team and he managed only 42 wins in 115 games.
However, in his last WHL season, after being drafted by the Capitals in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, Braden nearly equaled his wins total from the previous two seasons, posting a much improved 40 wins in 61 games.
In 2009, he made the jump to professional hockey and split the season between the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). Braden posted an impressive 24 wins in 37 games for the Bears, with a 2.32 goals against average and .917 save percentage. He won 7 of 12 games with the Stingrays and represented South Carolina in that season's ECHL All-Star Game.
Braden made his NHL debut on November 5, 2010 against the Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center. After replacing Michal Neuvirth with ten minutes remaining and the game tied 3–3, He stopped four Bruins shots as the Capitals scored two goals to give him the win.
Braden made his first NHL start two days later against the Philadelphia Flyers, a game the Capitals won 3–2 in overtime. He recorded his first NHL shutout on March 9, 2011, stopping 22 shots in a 5–0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
After posting a 4–0–0 record, a 1.05 GAA and a .965 save percentage, Braden was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending March 13, 2011. On March 27, 2011, he was assigned to Hershey, despite a 10–2–2 record in 14 starts. He returned on the last game of the 2012 season due to starter Tomas Vokoun's and backup Michal Neuvirth's injuries.
Braden started Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins, saving 29 of 30 in a 1-0 overtime loss. In Game 2, he stopped 43 of 44 shots in a 2-1 2OT win to tie the series 1-1. The Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter decided to start Braden for the next game even though Neuvirth and Vokoun would be available in the playoffs by saying "Holtby's our goalie."
Braden went on to aid the Capitals in upsetting the second seeded Bruins, stopping all but one of the shots he faced in a Game 7 to beat the Bruins 2-1 in overtime. He continued his sensational play against the top-seeded New York Rangers, splitting two road games in New York and stopping all shots he faced until late in a triple OT game that saw the Capitals fall 2-1.
Braden continued his great goaltending by beating the Rangers in Game 4 to tie the series 2-2. He wasn't as great in Game 5 after allowing the game tying goal with 6.6 seconds left in the game and then giving up the losing goal in overtime.
Braden stated after the game "I didn't see a thing." After that heartbreaking loss, Holtby made 30 saves in Game 6 against the Rangers, with the Capitals winning 2-1, forcing a Game 7. On Saturday May 12th, Braden started in his second career game 7.
One minute thirty-two seconds (1:32) into the game, Brad Richards of the Rangers blasted a slap shot past Holtby, making the score an early 1-0. Braden was able to shake it off and play a solid game after, making 29 saves.
Unfortunately, the Capitals were unable to beat Henrik Lundqvist in the final period, losing game 7 of the 2012 ECSF. Now in his rookie season, Braden was rewarded for his playoff performance in 2012 with the starting job for Washington as named by new head coach Adam Oates.
On February 25, 2013, Braden agreed to a two-year, $3.7 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Braden and his wife Brandi have a son named Benjamin.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
Regular season[edit | edit source]
|2009–10||South Carolina Stingrays||ECHL||12||7||2||3||712||35||392||0||2.95||.911|