NHL 2011-2012: NHL's Best Backup Goalies
Goaltending is widely considered to be the most important position in hockey.
Those masked men can carry a weak team, and must also handle all the pressure that comes with being regarded as the team's scapegoat when things go wrong.
Backup goalies are just as important as the starters.
They are there to provide competition, weather the storm and give the starter rest.
Despite seeing only limited playing time, they're crucial for to a team's success.
Here is a list of the five best back up goalies in the NHL.
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Ryan Miller has not been himself lately.
The Buffalo Sabres aren't yet worried, however. Miller's game will eventually come around, and in the meantime they have an absolute stud holding the fort.
That man's name is Jonas Enroth.
In his four starts this season, Enroth is an impressive 4-0-0 while only allowing 7 goals.
While there is no question that Miller is still the No. 1, the Sabres know they have other options should he experience future dips in form.
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Josh Harding is a superstar in the making.
The only problem at this time is that Nicklas Backstrom is above him in the Minnesota Wild goaltending pecking order.
In just five games played, Harding has only allowed six goals and boats a league best .965 save percentage.
Harding also boasts a 4-0-1 record so far this season. Goaltending has been a big reason the Wild are currently fifth in the Western Conference.
If the Minnesota Wild find themselves being buyers near the trade deadline, look for them to ship away one of these goalies for some impact players.
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Henrik Lundqvist may very well be the best goaltender in the NHL, but the Rangers derive even more confidence knowing that they have two No. 1 goalies to choose from.
In Biron's three starts this season, he is 3-0-0 with one shutout and has allowed only three goals against.
Much like the Minnesota Wild, Biron becomes viable trade bait if the Rangers decide to be buyers near the deadline.
Tuuka Rask's stats have been not good so far this season, compared to his career averages.
Rask is 1-3-0 with a .910 SV% and a 2.53 GAA.
Those numbers are respectable, but nowhere near good enough to unseat Boston's current No. 1.
The Bruins already have a stud in Tim Thomas—the hero of last season's Stanley Cup championship run— so Rask is free to take his time to figure out his game.
Rask has excellent career numbers and a history of being a No. 1 goaltender for the Bruins.
He is the second-best backup in the NHL.
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Cory Schneider is the league's best backup goalie.
Speaking from a purely statistical standpoint, Schneider has been struggling this season, producing just a 2-3-0 record, but scouts have been effusive in their praise for him all the way back to when he was plying his trade in the AHL.
Last season, Shhneider finished with a 16-4-1 record with a .929 SV%.
In the NHL, he has a career .918 SV% and a career 20-12-4 record.
Schneider is the league's next superstar goalie, however if he stays in Vancouver, he will be stuck behind Luongo for many years to come.