Puck Problems: Top 10 Disappointing NHL Goalies

Bobby Brooks@BrooksBetsAnalyst IIIFebruary 12, 2011

Puck Problems: Top 10 Disappointing NHL Goalies

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 06:  Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Atlanta Thrashers stands during opening introductions before facing the Nashville Predators at Philips Arena on December 6, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Before each season people like to make predictions.  Which team will win the cup?  Who will step up and win their division?  What teams will miss the playoffs?   Underlying most of these questions is whether or not a team has the kind of goaltending needed to make a splash.

    Unfortunately for some netminders, the season hasn't gone as planned.  Some have lost playing time to a backup.  Others are backups that haven't managed to perform as expected.

    Let's take a closer look at the top 10 disappointing goalies of the 2010/2011 season thus far..

10: Jonathan Bernier

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    DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 17:  Goalie Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Los Angeles Kings during play against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on January 17, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Record: 5-8-1

    Save %: .899

    Some of you might not like the fact that I have included Jonathan Bernier on the list because he is only a rookie after all.  Yet, when expectations are as sky high as they are for Bernier, then you must look at these numbers and concede that he hasn't been what he's been cracked up to be.

    He still has elite talent and big-game ability, but the Kings and their fans were hoping for much more this season.  Some of his bench time can be attributed to the great play of Jonathan Quick, but there were some (including myself) that expected Bernier to challenge for starting minutes at some point this year.  I believe he'll get there, but it won't be this season.

9: Chris Mason

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    DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 15:  Goaltender Chris Mason of the Atlanta Thrashers at American Airlines Center on January 15, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Record: 7-7-2

    Save %: .892

    When Chris Mason was signed by the Atlanta Thrashers, many pundits heralded it as a brilliant move.  Ondrej Pavelec had not yet proven that he could handle the starting role so a veteran presence would make logical sense. 

    Really?  Chris Mason?  I wasn't a fan of the move and Pavelec has recovered niceley from his early season health scare.  Whether Pavelec emerged this season or not, Mason hasn't given the Thrashers the kind of goaltending they paid for.  They have lost so much faith in him that he rarely even gets a start these days—even in back-to-back game situations.

8: Jonas Gustavsson

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    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes a break during his 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


    Record: 6-13-2

    Save %: .890

    During the preseason Sebastian Giguere was named the undisputed number one goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I was a bit surprised by this given the upside of Jonas Gustavsson.  We are now past the midway point of the season and it seems like the Toronto brass knew something I didn't. 

    Despite his size and talent, "the Monster" has struggled with consistency all year.  His numbers are pretty bad and you can only blame the team in front for so long.  Now he has gone under the knife to have another operation on his heart problems.  Needless to say the entire Gustavsson saga has been a major disappointment.   Time will tell if he ever rebounds to start in this league. 

7: Martin Broduer

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    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 01:  Goalie Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils kisses the back of his mask before the start of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at the Prudential Center on February 1, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Pau
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images


    Record: 13-19-2

    Save %: .898

    One running theme with most of the goalies on this list is that their save percentage is under .900.   Anytime this happens then the blame is squarely on the play of the netminder rather than the team in front of him.   For Martin Broduer, a .898 save percentage is just absurd.   He is a future Hall-of-Famer and perhaps the second best goalie of all-time, but he has struggled mightily this season. 

    Injuries are also getting the better of him as he might be finally breaking down physically.  He has played a ton of hockey and usually plays 70+ games per season.  Have we seen the beginning of the end?   Stay tuned.

6: New York Islanders

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    UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 11:  Al Montoya #35 of the New York Islanders looks on after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 11, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Isles defeated the Pens 9-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images



    Has there been a bigger catastrophe in between the pipes this year than what we've seen on Long Island?   They had a good thing with Dwayne Roloson, but he was shipped out of town to Tampa Bay.   Rick Dipietro finally gets healthy, but then decides he's Mike Tyson.  Nabokov seemed like a shrewd move, but he hung up on GM Garth Snow. 

    Other no name goalies have been brought in to provide a warm body, but injuries and bad play have plagued them too. 

    The one bright star that might come out of all of this is Al Montoya.   He's a blue chip prospect recently acquired from Phoenix that hasn't been given a proper opportunity in this league.  He might emerge out of this hurricane of a mess.

5: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 26:  Dan Ellis #33 replaces Mike Smith #41 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skate in the second period of the game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on November 26, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Im
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images


    Record: Good

    Save %: .Bad

    Speaking of Tampa Bay, has there been a better turnaround this season?   Right now the Lightning are currently leading their division and sitting in the two spot in the conference.  Unfortunately it has nothing to do with their goaltending from the first half of the season.  The team in front has overcome bad play in net all year and finally have something going with Dwayne Roloson.

    Dan Ellis and Mike Smith have been disasters though.  They both have winning records, but neither of them have a save percentage over .890.  GM Steve Yzerman knew he couldn't go into the playoffs with this kind of play, so he made the move. 

4: Craig Anderson

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20:  Goalie Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche puts on his mask as he defends the goal against the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center on January 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


    Record: 13.15-3

    Save %: .899

    When the Colorado Avalanche first signed Craig Anderson I loved the move.  He had always had an amazing save percentage despite playing on a less than impressive Florida Panthers team.  As a full-time starter last year he proved that he could be "the man" if given the opportunity.  However, he did start to show signs of fatigue down the stretch and in the playoffs.  Some might say that this was a red flag, while others said it was a normal symptom of an abnormally long schedule for a career backup.

    Many know that a player needs to play at a high level for more than one season before anyone crowns them as an established star.   Craig Anderson is finding this process more difficult than others because he has been nothing more than average this year.  Injuries haven't helped, but he is one of the bigger reasons why the team currently sits at 14th in the Western Conference.   Great goalies are supposed to aid a team through a slate of injuries, not contribute to the problem.

3: Marty Turco

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  Goaltender Marty Turco #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks walks to the ice before a game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on February 11, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Record: 11-11-3

    Save %: .897

    Coming into this season, the defending champs had high hopes for Marty Turco.  They had to be smart with the salary cap in the offseason and letting go of Niemi's high price tag and bringing in a cheaper Turco was a plan they thought would pay big dividends.

    Instead it is a relative unknown in Cory Crawford that has risen to the occasion.  Turco continues to struggle with consistency and just blew a three goal lead against his former club.   Turco has had his detractors over the years and it looks like they are out in full force once again this year.   Given the way he has played, it would be hard to make a case for him.

2: Tuukka Rask

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    BOSTON - OCTOBER 23: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins spreads out to cover the net in his game against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on October 23, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Get
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


    Record: 5-11-1

    Save %: .916

    Expectations for Tuukka Rask were through the roof coming into this season.  Last year he emerged as a dynamic sensation and it looked like he was on the cusp of super-stardom.  Many wondered what would happen to the five million dollar man in Tim Thomas.

    Wonder no more.  Tim Thomas has come back with a vengeance and taken back the starting role with an infinity of exclamation marks.  Meanwhile, Rask has been in and out of the lineup all year.  Some games he shows flashes of the brilliance we saw last year, at other times it looks like he doesn't belong in the league.  

    Like Bernier, I believe he has all the tools to be a Vezina contender sooner than later, but for now he'll need to continue developing his game as a backup.  

1: Jaroslav Halak

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 10: Jaroslav Halak #41 of the St. Louis Blues is introduced prior to playing against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Scottrade Center on January 10, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images


    Record: 18-16-6

    Save %: .908

    Has there been a more disappointing goalie in the league this year than Jaroslav Halak?  Another (unnamed) Bleacher Report featured columnist wrote an article earlier in the year crowning Halak as the undisputed winner from the Blues/Canadiens trade.  With a good part of the season already in the books, it looks like Montreal wasn't so stupid to trade Halak after all. 

    Price has outplayed Halak all year and they were also able to resign Tomas Plekanec thanks to the move.  Meanwhile, Halak has toiled in mediocrity and failed to give St Louis the kind of goaltending they expected when they acquired him during the offseason.

    There is still time to turn things around, but heading into the stretch-run Jaroslav Halak is clearly the most disappointing netminder in the NHL so far.  His heroics during the magical playoff run now seem like a distant memory.  The Blues are hoping he rekindles that flame in time to save the season.