NHL Power Rankings: Henrik Lundqvist and the Top Eastern Conference Goalies
In the past decade, only Miikka Kiprusoff and the NHL lockout could stop the Eastern Conference goaltenders from winning the Vezina Trophy. Once again, the Eastern Conference is stacked when it comes to goaltenders.
Several teams currently are searching for a franchise goaltender by playing youth, others have a goalie reaching his prime, and a few have goaltenders who time after time proven themselves among the best in the league.
This article will look at which team has the most dominating goaltender entering this season.
Ondrej Pavelec is a young and up coming goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets. Pavelec made his NHL debut in the 07-08 season with the Atlanta Thrashers. In that season he posted a 3-3 record.
Pavelec and the rest of the Thrashers packed up and headed to Winnipeg for a fresh start. This next season should prove to be exhausting for the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are still in the Southeast Division, so they will be travelling long distances.
Jose Theodore is coming back to the NHL as a starter for the Florida Panthers. Theodore's best season came with the Washington Capitals and their high powered offensive in 2009-2010. He posted a 30-7-0-7 record.
The Florida Panthers have brought in some talented players to help the team. So look for Theodore's numbers to be around his career average.
Craig Anderson appears to have revamped his career in Ottawa by posting a 11-5-0-1 record in 18 games for the Senators last season. His also posted his career best in goals against average at 2.05 and save percentage at .939. Anderson will look to repeat those numbers.
Unfortunately, Craig Anderson is a goaltending for a team that appears to be rebuilding. Anderson will have to play more than 18 games with the Senators, so expect to see his numbers drop down back to earth.
Dwayne Roloson showed he still can play last year as the Tampa Bay Lightning fell one game short of the Stanley Cup Finals. Even though his performance in the playoffs was amazing, his regular season stats were a little less appealing.
Tampa Bay did sign their man in Steven Stamkos, as well as keeping the majority of their high powered offense intact. With that said Roloson is 41 years old and a full 82 game season could take a toll on him.
Al Montoya has done some travelling in his short NHL career, but he might have found a home on Long Island. Montoya is still an unproven goaltender in the NHL. His AHL stats may give us a little insight into the future. Montoya has posted a 2.68 goals against and a .904 save percentage in the minors.
The Islanders have a talented young core that could give Montoya some goal support. This offseason, the New York Islanders also added a veteran defender. With an 82 game season ahead of him, will Montoya stay on pace with his current NHL stats or will they fall to his AHL numbers?
The Maple Leafs have been searching for a goaltender and might have found one in James Reimer. Reimer does not have an extensive resume, but he appears promising. He broke into the NHL at the age of 23. In Toronto's minor league system, he had a 2.42 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
The Maple Leafs have spent a couple of years piecing a competitive team together. Reimer should benefit from those additions.
Cam Ward started his career off with a bang. That bang was a Stanley Cup Championship. Cam Ward's numbers have been fairly consistent throughout his career. Ward can keep his team in games, but he can not steal many.
The Carolina Hurricane picked up Thomas Kaberle to replace Joe Corvo on defense. Cam Ward is hoping that move will stabilize the defense and help bring his numbers back to where they were in the 08-09 season.
Marc Andre Fleury
Like Ward, Marc Andre Fleury has a Stanley Cup Championship. This former first overall draft pick still hasn't posted expectational numbers, but finds a way to win. He has shown the potential to break the top 10 in goaltending statistics, but hasn't been consistent.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a well rounded team that has contributed to Fleury's success. Once again, the Penguins find themselves with the same balance. Fleury's numbers should remain approximately the same as years past.
Carey Price has survived a goalie controversy in Montreal by beating out Jaroslav Halak. Price showed the Canadiens they made the right decision by posting the best numbers of his young career. With a league leading 38 wins, a save percentage of .923, and a goals against average of 2.35 Price earned mention as a Vezina trophy candidate. Price has the potential to become a superstar in this league.
The Montreal Canadiens team struggled to score goals last year and this year might have the same fate. Price has been a little inconsistent in his career thus far. Price will need to post similar numbers this year for the Canadiens to be competitive.
Tomas Vokoun has been a very consistent goaltender. At times he has been flat out amazing. Vokoun's losing record and 2.56 goals against average are a little deceiving. He has recorded a career save percentage of .917, which is roughly the same percentage elite goaltenders post.
Throughout Vokoun's career, everyone couldn't help themselves from saying how good he would be on a better team. Now we all can see how it will pan out as he joins the Washington Capitals. Tomas Vokoun was one of the most sought after free agents this year. Even though he didn't get the payday he wanted, he piratically won the lottery. Vokoun signed with a team that can give him something he has never had before—a potent offense.
Martin Brodeur is a clear cut first ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers do not lie. He is a four time Vezina trophy winner, ten time all-star, and holds several goaltending records. Martin Brodeur is and has been an elite goaltender for over a decade. However, after the lockout and the NHL ridding the game of the neutral zone trap, Brodeur's numbers decreased understandably.
Unfortunately for the New Jersey Devils, to post numbers like that you have to spend many years in the league. Age could be a factor and might have begun to show last year. Brodeur missed some time over the last two seasons due to injury, which could be an indicator his tank might be running low.
Ilya Bryzgalov has just become the Philadelphia Flyers' shiny new toy. Bryzgalov has posted some good numbers throughout his career. His numbers have teeter-tottered from stellar to good and back. He does have a Stanley Cup Championship under his belt and is coming into his prime.
The Flyers have been the most surprising team of the offseason. They parted ways with two of their bigger name players and solved their goaltender problem. Bryzgalov hasn't been on a team as talented as the one the Flyers have now.
Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres already has one Vezina trophy and an amazing year under his belt. Last year Miller was unable to repeat his brilliant performance of 2009-2010. Miller's career numbers have been fairly consistent, but not what you would expect from an elite goaltender.
With the new ownership in Buffalo shaking things up, solidifying the blue line. Ryan Miller's numbers should improve and possibly may replicate his 09-10 season stats.
Tim Thomas just won his second Vezina trophy in three years by posting unbelievable numbers. Thomas has an unorthodox style that has proven to work. Thomas is a late bloomer. Drafted in '94, he didn't see NHL action until the 2002-2003 season.
The Boston Bruins are coming off a Stanley Cup Championship and are looking to repeat with Tim Thomas as a vital piece. Tim Thomas hasn't been the most consistent goaltender in the league statistically. Like Roloson and Brodeur, age could be a factor in his performance this season.
When speaking about great goaltending, Henrik Lundqvist's name is almost guaranteed to be brought up. One of the most consistent goalies in the league, Lundqvist has posted thirty plus wins every year he has been in the NHL. Now, he is looking to do it for a seventh straight season.
The New York Rangers have addressed one of their major needs. Brad Richards will fill the number one center slot which should give Lundqvist some goal support. With a Ranger team willing to block shots, Henrik's numbers should improve.