NHL 2010-11: Top 10 Goalies of the Eastern Conference
Hockey season is just around the corner and the Eastern Conference will be the focus in this slideshow.
The East has gradually gotten a bit more competitive and almost any team could make the postseason.
This list focuses on the top 10 netminders of the conference heading into the 2010-11 NHL season.
1. Ryan Miller
Miller, the goaltender of the Buffalo Sabres, is currently coming off his best season as an NHL goalie.
He recorded outstanding numbers while leading the Buffalo Sabres to a Northeast division title, had a phenomenal performance at the Olympics where he won the award for best goalie, and then won the Vezina Trophy for the league's best goaltender.
Heading into next season, it will be difficult for Miller to duplicate his 2009-10 campaign, however, there is no question that he is the single biggest reason Buffalo made the postseason and one of the main reasons why the USA won silver at the Olympics.
He is currently the single most dominant goaltender in the NHL right now.
2. Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist has enjoyed an excellent career as an NHL goalie.
In his five seasons in the NHL, he has been able to tally at least 30 wins each season.
He has led his New York Rangers into the postseason four times, and while his team hasn't been able to have a lot of success, he has been the backbone getting them there.
Arguably the most consistent goalie today, he has never played a season where his GAA was higher then 2.43, or had a save percentage lower than .912.
3. Tomas Vokoun
Vokoun, the 33-year-old veteran netminder is coming off one of his strongest individual performances as an NHL goalie.
Vokoun posted a career-high seven shutouts this past season with the Florida Panthers.
The Czech Republic goaltender has posted his best seasons in terms of save percentage in the last two years. In 2009, he finished the season with a career-best .926, following that with a .925 this past season.
However, what makes those numbers even more attractive is that Vokoun has played for a team that is rather weak defensively.
4. Martin Brodeur
There is not much to say about Brodeur, however, heading into next season, we might see a decrease in his game, once and for all.
Although Brodeur is still putting up great numbers in the regular season, he plays under a generally defensive system in New Jersey, which would certainly boost any netminder's numbers.
5. Cam Ward
Ward's season was cut short due to being plagued by injuries, which was the theme of his club as well this past season.
Ward is still at a pretty young age and has accomplished a lot in his career.
In just his rookie season, he hoisted the Stanley Cup and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as that postseason's top performer.
6. Tuukka Rask
Rask might have only played half a season last year, but led the NHL in GAA and save percentage.
He won the starting role in Boston over former Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas.
And because he did all this in his rookie season, Rask will more likely than not continue to move up these rankings as the years go by.
7. Marc-Andre Fleury
Fleury is a former first overall draft pick and was one of many reasons that the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup once and made it to the Finals twice in the past three years.
He made one of the biggest saves of his career when he stopped a wrist shot from Nicklas Lidstrom in the final seconds of Game Seven, giving his team the Cup.
He also has a Gold Medal from Vancouver, though as the third goalie, he had little to do with that team.
8. Tim Thomas
Although Thomas lost his starting role to rookie Tuukka Rask, the veteran goaltender is still a solid netminder.
Despite being 36, Thomas has only played six seasons in the NHL.
He has a career save percentage of .918 and has recorded at least three shutouts each season, except for his rookie year.
9. Semyon Varlamov
Varlamov is one of the biggest up-and-coming stars in the NHL.
The 22-year-old Russian has only played in 32 career NHL games, but in those games, Varlamov has recorded an outstanding 19-4-7 record with a 2.52 GAA.
He is expected to take over the No. 1 role between the pipes for the Washington Capitals this season.
10. Dan Ellis
Ellis has spent his career sharing goal with Pekka Rinne in Nashville.
However, after being signed by Tampa Bay, he will finally get his shot to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL.
He has had a solid career so far, averaging at least a save percentage of .900 or better over the course of his three years in the NHL, so it should be interesting to see how he performs in his new role.