It's the most important position for a hockey team, especially when you come into a season with serious questions surrounding it.
This season has certainly proven to be the year of the goaltender, both good and bad—and it's increasingly evident that the NHL is blessed with a more plentiful crop of exceptional patrollers between the pipes than we first thought.
The usual suspects have been in the news, of course. Martin Brodeur passed Terry Sawchuck for the all-time shutout record. Ryan Miller put in an out-of-this-world performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics. And Roberto Luongo won Team Canada's starting job before winning the gold medal on his home turf.
Yes, the goalies we always expect to be great have been just that this season. There have also been those who have come out of the shadows, and shocked more than a few people with impressive play that is worthy of some serious recognition.
The situation between the pipes was a concern for many coming into the 2009-10 season.
Several netminder nightmares have been realized. Others have been pleasantly surprised with a progression in their nets that they couldn’t have dreamed of.
More than one job has been stolen by an up-and-coming star, and it’s becoming more and more common to see a once-thought-to-be starter getting pushed aside to make room for the new kid on the block.
Yes, it's the year of the goaltender indeed.
Here are the eight most surprising goalie success stories in the NHL this season.