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One on One with Braden Holtby

02/15/2011 2:48 PM - "Last year you were in South Carolina and now you're in the NHL, can you believe it?

"It's hard to believe that I've made a jump like that in less than a year, but I've always felt like I could play at the highest level. My goal from the beginning was to play in the NHL and playing in South Carolina for the Stingrays in the ECHL was a part of that process. I had a great time when I was down in South Carolina and learned a lot about the professional game and myself. The city and fans were fantastic. Honestly, I wouldn't change anything that happened to me in the last year."

You started last season in Hershey and then were sent down to the Stingrays. Did that take a toll on you mentally?

"At first I was disappointed because I felt like I had proven that I could play in the American League, but it's part of being a professional. You have to pay your dues. Washington told me before the season that I'd probably be in South Carolina for most of the season, so it wasn't like I didn't expect it."

The stigma of playing in the ECHL seems to be gone now. Do you think that's true?

"There are so many goalies in the NHL that have played in the ECHL, so it's not like when you go down there and your career is over. It's a good league. A lot better than people might think. You see a lot of different situations and you see a lot of shots. That's a good thing for a young goalie."

Is playing in the ECHL harder than playing in the AHL or NHL?

"In some ways, yes. It's a tough league to play in for goalies because there are so many scoring opportunities. There are a lot of skilled players that have that one thing, whether it's speed or size or whatever, that's keeping them out of the American League or the National League. But they do have that one thing that they're very good at. It makes that league really good."

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