To everyone's surprise, two goalies who started the 2009 season finished the year contending for the Stanley Cup. To put this in perspective, most sports fans acknowledge that winning Lord Stanley is the toughest championship to win. The playoffs are an all-out battle every other night for two months straight. The war of attrition spares no one.
So to have two guys in Niemi and Leighton lacing up the pads to backstop their teams is quite the feat. They not only had to prove they could start for their team, but they had to go above and beyond and prove they could lead a contender all the way to the Holy Grail.
This development has heavily impacted the recent trend to underpay at the goalie position as the copy cat effect swings into full gear.
Now that most teams are stockpiling multiple goalies to carry the load, there is ample opportunity for another backup to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park.
Here are the top 10 goalies who could follow in Niemi's footsteps.