Power Ranking the Projected Starting Goalies at 2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will give goaltenders such as Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist, Sergei Bobrovsky and assorted others a chance to showcase their skills on a national stage. Twelve nations will be represented in ice hockey, and the teams range from contenders to bottom feeders.
Anything can happen once the Olympics start, and here is a power ranking of the top projected starting netminders.
*International stats listed are from IIHF Archive.
12. Robert Kristan, Slovenia
2014 will mark the first time that Slovenia has participated in Olympic ice hockey. They aren't favored to have success because of the lack of depth on the roster, but Robert Kristan should be in net for the Olympics. Kristan has played for Slovenia internationally at the World Championships, and he's spent some time in the KHL.
11. Lars Haugen, Norway
In a weird way, Lars Haugen will be at home during the Olympics. Although Haugen was born in Norway, he was a member of Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. He earned a contract with the club after a solid performance at the 2011 World Championships.
By no means is he an all-star, but maybe he will have some form of an "home-ice advantage". Norway is not going to be a favorite at the games, but Haugen will give them some experience in goal.
10. Edgars Masaļskis, Latvia
Edgars Masaļskis started in net for Latvia at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and he should be the team's starter in Sochi. At the 2010 Games, Masajskis had a stat line that included an .876 save percentage and 5.15 goal against average.
It was by no means a great performance, but at least he has some international experience.
He has more experience than the two goaltenders behind him, but he is still one of the tournament's weakest netminders. He also had quite the performance a few years ago against Finland at the IIHF World Championships.
9. Bernhard Starkbaum, Austria
Bernhard Starkbaum is a 27-year-old netminder currently playing for MODO Hockey in Sweden. In international competition for Austria this year, Starkbaum had a stat line of 17 games played, a 2.75 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.
He has some decent numbers with MODO, and Austria's team has enough talent to support him upfront.
8. Jaroslav Halak, Slovakia
Jaroslav Halak should be the starter for his country at the Sochi Games. He represented Slovakia in 2010, and he has the most experience of potential netminders. Halak went through some ups and downs in 2012-13 with the St. Louis Blues, but a hot start to the 2013-14 season could help prepare him for the February games.
Slovakia will have a star-studded roster at the Sochi Games, and Halak will give his nation a chance to medal. A few years ago, Halak was unbeatable for the Montreal Canadiens, and he will need to be that good at the 2014 games in Sochi.
7. Jonas Hiller, Switzerland
Jonas Hiller is an outstanding goaltender for the Anaheim Ducks, and he will need to help Switzerland improve upon their 2010 finish. In 2010, Switzerland finished in eighth place after a defeat in the quarterfinals at the hands of the United States.
Hiller has become a better goaltender in the last four years, and Switzerland will benefit from his experience. Over the past few years Hiller has overcome a multitude of ailments, and his current state of health should allow him to be a factor at the Olympics.
6. Tomas Vokoun, Czech Republic
Tomas Vokoun is a backup for Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he will take his rightful place in the crease as the starter for the Czech Republic. For years, Vokoun has been his country's best goaltender, and 2014 will be his third time in Olympic competition.
The Czech Republic took home bronze at the Turin Games in 2006 and finished seventh in 2010 despite Vokoun's tremendous play. Vokoun went 3-2-0 with a 1.78 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
This is the last time the Czech Republic could be represented by Vokoun, and he will want to go out on a high note.
5. Pekka Rinne, Finland
Pekka Rinne should be Team Finland's starter at the 2014 Olympics, and he is likely to get the nod over Tuukka Rask because of his experience. Rinne will take over for Miikka Kiprusoff, who retired from the NHL officially.
Rinne has become one of the NHL’s best netminders, and the next step for him is to become a dominant international player.
The Nashville Predators starter will get his first taste of Olympic action, and he should be able to thrive in an international environment. He is an elite NHL goalie, and he makes Finland a threat to win gold in Sochi.
4. Sergei Bobrovsky, Russia
Sergei Bobrovsky is Russia's best goaltender. He is a better competitor than Ilya Bryzgalov, and he is coming off an amazing season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bryzgalov famously ousted “Bob” while he was with the Philadelphia Flyers, and he also took his job at the 2013 World Championships.
During this go around, Bobrovsky will look to shine in his home nation, and he gives Russia the best chance to win gold on home ice. There is no logical reason for Bobrovsky not to start in Sochi, and the 2014 Games should allow him to become an international star.
3. Roberto Luongo, Canada
Roberto Luongo is Canada's best goaltender. He has had a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks over the past 18 months, but some forget the amazing performance Bobby Lu had in his home arena in 2010.
During the 2010 tournament, Luongo appeared in five games, and he went undefeated while posting a 1.75 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Luongo's dominance enabled Canada to win a gold medal for the first time since 2002, and there is no reason he can't help them defend their crown in Sochi.
2. Jonathan Quick, USA
Jonathan Quick won Stanley Cup silver in 2011-12 with the Los Angeles Kings, and he won silver as a third-string goalie at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Quick will likely usurp Ryan Miller as Team USA's starter, and he projects to be one of the tournament's best players.
If Team USA receives a playoff-like performance from Quick for two weeks in Sochi, they will have a great chance to win gold. He has shown in the past that he can be lights out when he is in the zone, and winning gold is something that should be attainable for Quick and Team USA.
1. Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden
Henrik Lundqvist more than lives up to his "King Henrik" moniker during international competition. The swarthy Swede has been dominant on ice and inline skates, and he will look to capture another medal this February.
In 2002, Lundqvist led Sweden to their first gold medal at the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships. In 2006, Lundqvist led Sweden to a gold medal, partially because of an Olympic record shutout streak that continued at the 2010 Olympics.
Although Sweden did not win a medal at the 2010 Games, Lundqvist posted a 1.34 GAA and a .927 save percentage. No matter how you slice it, Henrik is the current goaltender king of international competition.