Can you believe that Georgetown was upset in the first-round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?
Stop watching the NCAAs and get your focus back on hockey.
This season has featured a number of standout goaltenders in the NHL. While some goalies have been more consistent than others, this year’s Vezina Trophy race for Goalie of the Year should be a memorable one.
Before I start, many of you will probably be wondering, “Why isn’t Rick DiPietro on your list?”
Well, let me answer that.
Unfortunately, to be considered as one of the top five goalies in the league, the minimum number of games played is 10. “DP” has only played eight this year—which, to be fair, is three more games than he played last season.
So close, yet so very, very far.
But in all seriousness, in no particular order, here are this season’s Top Five goalies.
Vokoun has been a stone wall in net for the Florida Panthers all season.
The 33-year-old Czech is currently second in the league in save percentage (.928), shots against (1939), saves (1800), and shutouts (seven).
Vokoun’s .928 save percentage is currently the best of the veteran’s impressive career.
The Florida netminder has faced 40 or more shots in a game a ridiculous 14 times this season—those 14 games include a season-best 52 saves in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Panthers’ first game of the season.
However, Vokoun’s 23-23-11 record might not hold up against the rest of his competitors who all have 34 or more wins.
Despite his record, Vokoun has done everything in his power to keep the Panthers in the heated Eastern Conference playoff race.
Florida currently sits seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
Don’t judge Vokoun just based on his record. He’s a Vezina contender in my book.
Miller has been the talk of the league from the first game of the season.
Not enough can be said about what the 29-year-old native of East Lansing, Michigan has done for the Northeast-leading Buffalo Sabres.
Miller’s 12-2-1 start to the season proved that he had taken his game to a whole new level.
Miller has led the NHL in save percentage for a majority of the season. His current .929 save percentage is tops in the NHL.
The Olympic MVP’s 2.21 GAA is currently second in the league behind Boston’s Tuukka Rask (2.12). His 2.21 GAA is also the lowest of Miller’s career by almost a third of a goal.
Through Miller’s first 30 games, he surrendered over three goals just an incredible two times.
Miller is currently the favorite for the Vezina Trophy in many critics’ minds and even a potential MVP nominee as well.
If Miller can continue his dominance of the NHL for the remainder of the season, he might just take home both awards.
The Colorado Avalanche finished with a 32-45-5 record last season—good enough for dead last in the Western Conference.
This season, Colorado currently holds the fifth spot in the West with an impressive 40-24-6 record—this is, in large part, due to the efforts of Anderson.
I previously mentioned that Vokoun is second in shots against and total saves. That’s because Anderson is first. Anderson has stopped an impressive 1807 of 1957 shots so far this season.
Anderson has seven shutouts this year, tied with Vokoun and one other goalie on this list for second in the NHL.
Anderson had just 36 wins coming into this year and had never started more than 31 games in a season. So far this season, Anderson has 35 wins and has started 61 of Colorado’s 70 games.
There is no doubt that Anderson will collect his first Vezina nomination at the end of the season—barring a complete meltdown. He might even collect his first Vezina Trophy as well.
I’ll put this one into SAT analogy terms—Bryzgalov is to Phoenix as Anderson is to Colorado.
Thanks to Bryzgalov’s amazing play in net this year, the Coyotes have gone from 13th in the West last season to fourth this season.
Like several of the other goalies on this list, Bryzgalov is putting up the best numbers of his career. His eight shutouts are the best in the league, and his 2.26 GAA isn’t too shabby either.
Bryzgalov’s 38 wins are second in the league and are the most ever by a Phoenix goaltender.
Phoenix is currently on a seven-game win streak and is just three points away from a franchise-best season.
Assuming all goes as it has been, the Coyotes will make the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 season when they were eliminated in five games by the San Jose Sharks.
Bryzgalov might be able to give Phoenix its first playoff series victory in franchise history as well.
Don’t act so surprised. The NHL’s all-time winningest goalie has put together another fantastic season for the New Jersey Devils.
For starters, Brodeur currently leads the league with 39 wins. He might even make a run at the record for most wins for a season (48), but he is currently projected to fall just two wins short.
Not that it matters—Brodeur already holds that record.
Brodeur had arguably the best performance of any goaltender this season back on Jan. 12 at Madison Square Garden. The 37-year-old stopped all 51 shots he faced in a 1-0 shootout win over the New York Rangers.
While his .914 save-percentage is the lowest in this group and there are a couple of other goalies with better statistics, Brodeur is a proven winner and there is no arguing that.
Brodeur is also tied for second in shutouts along with Vokoun and Anderson’s seven.
Oh, and I almost forgot, New Jersey has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL.
Like a fine wine, Marty only seems to get better with age.
These guys are good, but not good enough—no write-up necessary:
Evgeni Nabakov, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Jimmy Howard.