The NHL is more competitive right now than it's ever been in the modern era. Last year, five points separated 4th and 10th in the west, and the Vancouver Canucks were the only team in the NHL with more than 49 wins.
As the talent level between teams continues to dwindle, the talent level between players diminishes as well—perhaps nowhere more noticeably than at the goaltender position.
Because pure skill is no longer a commodity but a prerequisite for seeing NHL minutes, any team and any player can dominate when they have their game going strong. And we've seen in the past couple postseasons that a hot goalie is better than an elite one.
Jaroslav Halak. Michael Leighton. Antti Niemi. Dwayne Roloson. None of these guys were the definitive No. 1 on their team throughout the regular season, but I challenge you to find a goalie not named Tim Thomas (who himself wasn't even the sure starter going into last season) that has dominated the playoffs over the last two seasons like these guys.
Modern-day NHL netminding is about stepping up in big moments. Every goalie these days is hard to beat down low. Each can flash the five-hole, only to close it up. Everyone can dive across the crease for a big glove save.
Because of this, there are a plethora of backup netminders around the league that are just as capable of dominating the action, whether it be for one game every two weeks or for an indefinite amount of time when the starter is injured.
Having a a strong goalie tandem is preferable to having one elite guy these days, because so many goalies can be elite at times. The more potential elite options, the better suited you are for withstanding injuries. slumps and making playoff runs.
Here's a look at the best goaltender duos in the NHL right now.