Top 10 Goalies Right Now Aug 25, 2019
- From Stanley Cup champions to Vezina Trophy winners to all-stars, the NHL has many great goalies.
- NHL Network producers and analysts chose the top 10 goalies in the League for a special program that premiered Sunday as the fourth in a nine-part series leading up to the regular season.
- Here is the list:
10. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
- Although the Ducks were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL last season (196 goals; 2.39 per game), Gibson performed well, going 26-22-8 with a 2.84 GAA, a .917 save percentage and two shutouts.
- The 26-year-old had at least 25 wins in each of the past three seasons.
- He was third in the NHL in save percentage (.922) and tied for seventh in GAA (2.42) over the past four seasons among goalies who played at least 100 games.
“You look at John Gibson and his athleticism, I think he’s improved maybe the most in the NHL at feeling the game a little bit more instead of going out and being a little bit more boxy,” Pang said. “I think right now, he has got a lot of assets to his game. His hands, his footwork, I think his balance is so much better than it was when he first broke out.”
9. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
- Rinne has won at least 30 games in each of the past five seasons and in eight of the past nine full NHL seasons.
- The four-time Vezina finalist won the award for the first time in 2017-18, when he went 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA, a .927 save percentage and an NHL-leading eight shutouts.
- He is fifth among active NHL goalies in wins (341) and third in shutouts (55).
“When every player and coach in the NHL prepare against him, they say the same thing: You have to be willing to out-compete and out-battle him, especially on any rebounds tight to his feet,” Pang said. “He plays pucks well, still has quick hands and one of the best gloves in the League. The biggest compliment you can give any goalie is that he is revered by his teammates. The ultimate team player and leader.”
8. Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues
- The 26-year-old became the first NHL rookie goalie with 16 wins in a single postseason when he helped the Blues to their first Cup championship last season.
- A finalist for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, Binnington was 24-5-1, led the NHL in GAA (1.89), and was fourth in save percentage (.927).
- He had five shutouts in 32 regular-season games to help the Blues earn a playoff spot after they were last in the NHL standings Jan. 3.
“His push-off from his post, his flexibility, the ability to read the play, sometimes taking chances, but battling through it was really impressive,” Pang said. “… I like his hands, he catches a lot of pucks. It could be high blocker, he catches the puck, high glove, he catches the puck. I mean, this is a special ride. I don’t believe what happened with Jordan Binnington was a fluke, and I base that on his technique, his angles, his ability to find pucks and his concentration.”
7. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
- Since 2012-13, Holtby leads NHL goalies in wins (243) and is fourth in shutouts (32).
- He had at least 32 wins in each of the past five seasons, including 48 in 2015-16 to tie the single-season NHL record (Martin Brodeur with the New Jersey Devils in 2006-07).
- The 29-year-old helped the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2018, going 16-7 with a 2.16 GAA, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts in 23 playoff games.
“He has that hockey sense and that ultra-compete that he carries with him,” Pang said. “He’s a Vezina Trophy winner (2016), three 40-or-more-win seasons, tied for the second most in NHL history. Enough said. Braden Holtby has really done it all in the NHL.”
6. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
- In two seasons in Vegas, Fleury is 64-34-9 with a 2.40 GAA, a .919 save percentage and 12 shutouts in the regular season, and he has a 2.37 GAA, a .922 save percentage and five shutouts in the playoffs.
- He helped the Golden Knights to consecutive playoff appearances in each of their first two seasons, including a trip to the Cup Final in 2018.
- The 34-year-old, who won the Stanley Cup three times with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017), is second in the NHL in wins (439) and shutouts (56) among active goalies behind Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers (449 wins, 63 shutouts).
“Is there a better poke-checker in the National Hockey League?” Pang said. “Is there a guy that reads the play or uses his stick around the crease (better)? Why be passive and allow a puck to go right through your crease that forces you to do a two-pad slide or stretch out? He’s already there. His anticipation is incredible.”
5. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
- Rask was 27-13-5 with four shutouts last season and became the Bruins’ all-time leader in wins (265) when he got his 253rd to pass Tiny Thompson.
- His 199 victories over the past six seasons were second in the NHL behind Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (220), and he was the only goalie who had at least 30 wins each of the five seasons from 2013-18.
- The 32-year-old helped Boston advance to the Stanley Cup Final last season and was a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate with a 2.02 GAA and .934 save percentage in 24 playoff games.
“I think every year he gets better,” Pang said. “He seems to be under the heat so often and the criticism comes at him, but I watch Tuukka Rask and [he’s] fundamentally good, his demeanor is calm, he makes glove saves now where he just makes it look easy. Pucks coming into his body, and he doesn’t even go down. He’s got really nice patience in the net.”
4. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
- Price’s 321 wins are the most in Canadiens history. He had 35 wins last season, the fourth time in the past six seasons he had at least 34.
- The 32-year-old has been one of the most consistent goalies since entering the NHL in 2007-08.
- Price won the Vezina and was voted winner of the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 2014-15, when he led the NHL in wins (44), GAA (1.96) and save percentage (.933).
“What makes Carey Price great and why I had him higher on my list is because he makes the most difficult saves look easy and he doesn’t put a lot of mustard into it after that,” Pang said. “He just does his business, makes the save, covers it up. Again, hockey sense is everything, and his ability to read the play and go side to side and make it look so efficient is not easy.”
3. Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars
- Bishop was the runner-up for the Vezina last season after leading the NHL in save percentage (.934), finishing second in GAA (1.98), and going 27-15-2 with seven shutouts.
- He set a Stars record with an NHL career-long shutout streak of 233:04 from March 2-19, winning six straight games in that span.
- The 32-year-old is a three-time Vezina finalist.
“When less is more for Ben Bishop, that’s when he’s at his best,” Pang said. “What I remember from last [season] is the exhibition he put on in Game 7, double overtime (of the Western Conference Second Round). Although it was a (2-1) loss to [the] St. Louis [Blues], in his hometown, he made  saves. He was absolutely brilliant before Pat Maroon scored on a rebound attempt behind him. [He] has good hands, lateral movement obviously, his pads are 19 feet long. But he’s somewhat cerebral in that net as well.”
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers
- His 115 wins over the past three seasons led the NHL. A two-time Vezina winner (2013, 2017), Bobrovsky had at least 37 wins each season in that span for the Columbus Blue Jackets, including when he went 37-24-1 with a 2.58 GAA, a .913 save percentage and an NHL-leading nine shutouts last season.
- He was 5-14 in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games prior to helping the Blue Jackets sweep the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning in the 2019 Eastern Conference First Round. Bobrovsky, who turns 31 on Sept. 20, signed a seven-year contract with the Panthers on July 1.
“He has the ability to win a game on his own,” Pang said. “He was helped by a very competitive defending team in Columbus, but let’s face it, he made momentum-grabbing saves. He’s a lightning rod for viewers. When you watch Bobrovsky and you’re not even a hockey fan, you say, ‘Who is that guy and what is he doing?'”
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
- The reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the best goalie in the NHL, Vasilevskiy was 39-10-4 with a 2.40 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and six shutouts last season.
- He led the NHL in wins in each of the past two seasons, going 83-27-7 in 118 games (117 starts) in that span.
- The 25-year-old helped the Lightning to 62 wins last season, tying the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most in NHL history.
“Tampa Bay gave up a lot of high-end chances last year, high-end quality chances, yet he was the rock,” said NHL Network analyst Darren Pang, a Chicago Blackhawks goalie from 1984-89. “There’s a good reason why he was the Vezina Trophy winner, and I believe that was the right call by the general managers who vote on the award.”