Hockey may be a team sport, but no player can make more of a difference in his team's chances of winning a Stanley Cup than the goaltender can.
A hot, steady goalie can make a good team great, like Jonathan Quick during Los Angeles' 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff run. A shaky netminder can send a very good team to an early tee time, much the way Roman Turek doomed the Presidents' Trophy-winning St. Louis Blues to mediocrity in the first round of the 2000 postseason.
Now that we are one-third of the way through the NHL season, we will take a look at the performances of the top 20 goalies in the NHL.
The choice of the netminders was predetermined based upon their expectations for the season and performances last year. Thus, players like Viktor Fasth, who were completely off the radar to start the season, will not be analyzed.
In addition, players who were ranked outside the top 20 to begin the year but have since proven to be better than expected, like Corey Crawford, also failed to make the list.
This is a look at the stocks of those 20 goalies with the highest expectations going into the 2013 season. Who has improved, and who seems to be struggling to help his team compete?