The goaltender is the toughest position to play and to predict. Being the literal last line of defense, goalies’ responsibilities become that much more stressful. They are usually blamed for every loss when most of the time, the goals allowed aren’t always their fault. Sometimes, the defensemen error or the scorer made a good move. They do get credited for standing on their head, but usually, they don’t get recognized for their job when their team wins.
Similar to quarterbacks or pitchers, goalies don’t get drafted in the first couple of rounds unless they are elite like Clayton Kershaw or Aaron Rodgers. This results in every league having a “goalie run” where, at least two rounds in the draft, everybody is in a sudden rush to take a goalie. Basically, people are in a grocery store getting their items before a storm. People have tried to anticipate, but ultimately, it just happens. So here’s a ranking to prepare.[the_ad id=”384″]
Goalie categories are wins, save percentages (SV %), goals against average (GAA), and shutouts (SHO). Consistency was a big factor, as well.
10. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Anderson played the least amount of games of anyone on this list with 40. It wasn’t because of injury. His wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed with cancer in late October. Anderson missed December and January to care for her. She is cancer-free now. When he returned in February, he had a .926 SV % and 2.28 GAA. However, Anderson hasn’t been consistent his entire career, and he is 36. On the other hand, he did lead the Senators to the conference finals and coach Guy Boucher is very defensive-minded. Anderson may not sustain this performance in a full season, but he has a lot of things going for him.
9. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs
In Andersen’s first year as a full-time starter, he had a decent SV% of .918 and GAA of 2.67 in 66 games. He also went 33-16-14 for the year and had an incredible March (.939 SV% in 11 games). With Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, the Leafs are one of the more promising teams in the league. In fact, the Leafs are one of the youngest teams, including the 27-year-old Andersen. As well as their three best defensemen 27-year-old Jake Gardiner, 25-year-old Nikita Zaitsev, and 23-year-old Morgan Rielly. The growth of those three and the entire team will only help Andersen in the Leafs’ search for their first cup in 50 years.
8. Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers
After a couple years of backing up Lundqvist, the 30-year-old Talbot is a full-time starter in Edmonton. Although Talbot’s stats weren’t great this season with a SV% of .919 and a GAA of 2.39, he was a big reason in getting the Oilers into the playoffs. Talbot had been somewhat inconsistent but he was great in March where he went 7-3-1 with a .927 SV%, for Edmonton’s playoff push. McDavid and Draisaitl are, of course, a big piece in Edmonton’s future but Talbot is just as important in the Oiler’s success. Like Andersen and the Leafs, the Oilers still struggle on defense but it might be overcome because of McDavid’s greatness.
7. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Rask isn’t what he used to be, but he still is one of the best goaltenders around. His stats fell in the prior two seasons due to defensemen messing up and coaches not resting him properly. But this season, Rask was a bit better where he had a .915 SV% and a GAA of 2.23 with eight shutouts (2nd best in the league). He played even better when Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien as head coach. Rask had a .923 SV % and 2.08 GAA in 19 games since Cassidy took over, which are the numbers the Finn used to get. Bruins were 12-6-1 in those games. It’s unclear if Cassidy will give the 30-year-old rest this season, but if the last 19 regular season games are any indication, Rask is likely back to his old self.
6. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
In the first three months of the season, Dubnyk was the hottest goalie in the league. He had a .952 SV% in October, .942 SV% in November, and .934 SV% in December. However, he came down to earth the rest of the season with a .908 SV%. That’s 80 goals allowed in 36 games. He still managed to get a .925 SV% and 2.25 GAA in 65 games for the entire season. The key for Dubnyk is consistency. He’s been one of the best goalies since he’s been in Minnesota, and he is certainly capable of being a dominant force.
5. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
Usually, it takes a while for goalies to adjust to the NHL level. Gibson started out as a tandem with Frederick Andersen at the beginning of his career. Now that Andersen is on the Leafs, the 22-year-old is the full-time starter for the Ducks. He did not disappoint with 924 SV% and 2.22 GAA. However, Gibson only played in 52 games due to injury. Gibson has a history of getting injured often. His back-up Bernier is now gone too and veteran Ryan Miller is the replacement. Assuming Gibson can stay healthy for the entire year, he is in a good position to succeed with Anaheim and should be given a lot of starts.
4. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
We have now reached elite territory where one could take any of these goalies in the first few rounds. Murray had a .923 SV% and a 2.41 GAA last season. He won 32 of the 42 games he played, which is 65.3 winning percentage. The Penguins are the best team in the league right now and they have a lot of depth players on both offense and defense. But not every goalie can do as well as Murray has in this situation. Marc-Andre Fleury, his back-up, had a .908 SV% and a 3.02 GAA. As well as the Penguins had to deal with a lot of injuries throughout the season. This just shows that the 23-year-old can handle this tough position even though he plays for a very good team. Being so young, Murray is on his way to being the best goaltender in the league, if not next season.
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Price had a down year this season with .923 SV% and 2.26 GAA. Which is weird to say but a down year for Price is a phenomenal season for any other goalie. The past two seasons, Price has gone higher than .230 in SV % and his GAA has been no lower than 2.07. That’s including playing 12 games in the 2015-16 season. The Habs will be a different team on the defensive side with Alexi Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu gone, as well as defenseman prospect Mikhail Sergachev, and Andrei Markov still an unsigned free agent. Price has been the Canadiens’ best player for a couple of seasons now, so these defensive changes shouldn’t effect him too much. If you want consistency, Carey Price is your guy.
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Bobrovsky led the league in both SV% (.932) and GAA (2.06) and was the Vezina winner. He also won 41 games that he played in with 65.1 win percentage. There is a good chance you are right and Bobrovsky will have another Vezina season. I put the Russian-native in second because he hasn’t exactly been consistent. The season before was his worst season in Columbus with an SV % of .908 and GAA of 2.75. Also, Columbus is due for some regression. Bobrovsky stood on his head for almost all of the games and it’s unclear if the team can sustain their success. However, if you feel like the Blue Jackets are for real, the 29-year-old Bobrovsky should be a great pickup.
1. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Holtby had the second-best season for a goalie with 2.07 GAA and .925 SV%. He also lead the league in shutouts with nine. The reason he is the top-ranked goalie is because of the team around him and consistency. Holtby has a career average of .922 SV% and a decent GAA of 2.31. The Washington Capitals made a lot of moves in the offseason. The loss of defensemen Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt will hurt but the 2015-16 Vezina winner is capable of being good without them.
Goalies that had a terrible season due to injury or just never found their groove. But they’ve all been great in recent history and could bounce back in a major way.
Corey Schneider (NJ), Corey Crawford (CHI), Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Jonathan Quick (LA), Ben Bishop (DAL), Martin Jones (SJ), Roberto Luongo (FLA), Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK), Pekka Rinne (NSH), Mike Smith (CGY),
Goalies that have either just gotten the starting job or didn’t have a great season last year and could improve. It’s important to remember Holtby, Bobrovsky, Price, and Dubnyk were not good right away either.
Andrej Vasilevsky (TB), Jake Allen (STL), Scott Darling (CAR), Conor Hellebuyck (WPG), James Reimer (FLA),Robin Lehner (BUF), Antti Raanta (ARI), Petr Mrazek (DET), Steve Mason (WPG),