Top Ten Goalies in the NHL

Keith LundquistCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2008

It's the middle of the summer and I'm just as sick of reading articles about Mats Sundin and unlikely trade rumours as you are.

I thought it would be fun and somewhat interesting to write about the top goalies in the league. These are the guys that prove to be their team's most valuable asset.

The goalies that I've listed are who I believe are the top 10, in order from No. 10 to No. 1.

I'm also interested in reading other people's views on this subject. Instead of writing 10 different articles, I've put my listings in one, as you can see.

10. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Drafted first overall in the 2003 draft, this young guy has taken time to develop into a franchise goalie.

The hockey world got a good glimpse of this kid when he started in net for Canada's World Junior team. He didn't win a gold, but he sure put on a performance. However, the softy he let in against the U.S. in the gold medal game surely glitched his confidence.

His best two seasons were his last two: 2006-07 and 2007-08. He had 69 wins and nine shutouts in 102 games played in the two seasons combined.

Recently, Fleury played a huge part in the Penguins' run to the Stanley Cup Finals, falling short to the Red Wings.

Even though his team is full of superstars, Fleury is a proven NHLer with a hopeful career

Awards: 2008 Eastern Conference Champion, first-overall choice in 2003 NHL Entry Draft

Stats:173 GP, 76 Wins, 11 Shutouts, 2.95 GAA, .905 Save Percentage

9. Vesa Toskala, Toronto Maple Leafs

Like Kiprusoff, this Finnish goalie started his career backing up San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov. After giving Nabokov a run for his money for a couple of seasons, Toskala was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs were a lot different compared to the Sharks. Toronto had failed to reach the playoffs for a few years and the team was rebuilding.

Eventually, Toskala beat Andrew Raycroft for the starting job, and Vesa proved to everyone that he was No. 1 when he brought the Leafs from the bottom to just shy of a playoff spot. With a good team in front of him, Toskala can have a lot of success in the NHL.

Awards: None :(

Stats: 181 GP, 98 Wins, 11 Shutouts, 2.49 GAA, .910 Save Percentage

8. Rick Dipietro, New York Islanders

Arguably the best American goalie in the league, Dipietro has an impressive resume in the NHL and internationally. Dipietro has played in two World Junior Championships, two World Championships, one World Cup, and the 2006 Olympics for the U.S.

As a starting goalie for the Islanders, Dipietro has provided many solid performances, and has helped the team recover from years of playoff drought. Must I mention that he was also drafted first overall in the 2000 NHL Draft??   

Awards: First Overall in 2000 NHL Entry Draft

Stats: 268 GP, 116 Wins, 14 shutouts, 2.78 GAA, .905 Save Percentage

7. Jean-Sebastian Giguere, Anaheim Ducks

The big, robotic goalie we've all come to know as J.S. Giguere has found a spot on my list of top ten goalies. For years, I have been critical of this goalie's style, but I found it in my heart to make him No. 7 in recognition of his accomplishments in the NHL.

Giguere has helped his team to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, and received the Conn Smythe on his first try and the Stanley Cup on his second try. Giguere is a huge reason for the Ducks' success the last few seasons.

Awards: 2007 Stanley Cup, 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy

Stats: 411 GP, 191 Wins, 29 Shutouts, 2.43 GAA, .915 Save Percentage

6. Marty Turco, Dallas Stars

Here's a goalie who has put up impressive numbers year after year and has yet to receive a major award. This two-time All-Star continues to bring development and improvement to the Dallas franchise, even though the team hasn't won a cup since 1999.

He was Dallas' MVP during the team's run for the Stanley Cup this last season, before losing to the eventual champs, the Red Wings. 

Awards: Two-time All-Star, 2003 NHL Second Team, 2006 Olympian

Stats: 382 GP, 207 Wins, 33 Shutouts, 2.15 GAA, .913 Save Percentage

5. Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames

Starting his career behind Nabokov in the Shark Tank, Kipper was a catalyst for the new era of Finnish goalies. He got his break in Calgary, where he took over as a starter in 2003.

He carried the team to the playoffs and fell short of the Stanley Cup to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is a Vezina winner and is part of the three-man core of the Flames, along with Iginla and Phaneuf.

Awards: 2006 Vezina and NHL First All-Star Team, 2004 Western Conference Champion, 2004 World Cup Finalist, 2006 Olympian

Stats: 309 GP, 159 Wins, 26 Shutouts, 2.37 GAA, .915 Save Percentage

4. Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks

After mentioning him twice, it's about time we arrived at Nabokov. He is the survivor of the San Jose goaltending controversies.

After being named Rookie of the Year in 2001, Nabokov had a few average seasons. But, in 2004, he carried his team to the Western Conference finals and proved that he could be a franchise goaltender. 

In my opinion, he should have won the Vezina this previous season, but lost to Martin Brodeur.

Awards: 2001 Calder Trophy and NHL All-Rookie team, 2008 Vezina Nominee, 2006 Russian Olympian

Stats: 430 GP, 208 Wins, 40 Shutouts, 2.37 GAA, .911 Save Percentage

3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

It is safe to say that this Swedish netminder has emerged to become one of the elite goalies in the NHL and the World. The Olympic Gold medalist, World Champion, and three-time Vezina nominee is the face of the New York Rangers and a fan-favorite with only three years of NHL experience.

King Henrik ruled throughout the Swedish Elite League before putting on a show and ending a playoff drought in the Big Apple. Also, I was fortunate to meet him when the Rangers came to Vancouver, and he is probably the most attractive goalie in the league—not that it makes him any good.

Awards: Three-Time Vezina Nominee, Swedish Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion, 2006 NHL All-Rookie team

Stats: 195 GP, 104 Wins, 17 Shutouts, 2.27 GAA, .917 Save Percentage

2. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Playing in my city, Vancouver, isn't the reason why this guy is No. 2. Luongo is one of the best because of his timely saves, competitiveness, consistency, and ability to make 40 saves a night.

In Florida, Luongo adapted quickly to the abundance of shots and team dependence. He then was the guy that turned the Canucks around, after being traded for city-favourite Todd Bertuzzi. He carried the team to a Northwest Division title in his first year there and put on an astounding performance in the 2007 playoffs, before getting eliminated by the eventual champs, Anaheim.

Luongo has also won numerous World Championships, and has established himself as a top goalie on the international stage. It's a matter of time til this guy wins the Vezina.

Awards: 1999 World Junior Championships Best Goalie, 1999 World Junior Champion, 2004 NHL Second All-Star Team, Three-time all-star, 2007 Vezina Nominee, 2004 World Cup Champion, 2006 Olympian

Stats: 490 GP, 197 Wins, 38 Shutouts, 2.60 GAA, .919 Save Percentage

1. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Shocking, eh? I bet no one saw this coming.

Anyways, here's my number one guy. Three Stanley Cups and four Vezina trophies is enough to put this guy here.

What a lot of people don't recognize about this goalie is that he has missed the playoffs only once in his long and extraordinary career. He has tallied 96 shutouts, second behind Sawchuk, and he is creeping up on Patrick Roy's record for most wins.

He is the sole reason why the Devils have been one of the most successful teams in the last dozen years.

Awards: [Take a deep breath] 3 Stanley Cups, 4 Vezinas, 4 William Jennings, 2002 Olympic Gold, 2004 World Cup Champion, 1994 Calder Trophy, 11-time All-Star, 2004-05 World Champion

Stats: 968 GP, 538 Wins, 96 Shutouts, 2.20 GAA, .914 Save Percentage

Honorable Mentions:

Jose Theodore (Washington Capitals), Cam Ward (Carolina Hurricanes), Pascal Leclaire (Columbus Blue Jackets), Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins)

Wow, I spent a long time on this article so you better have enjoyed it! Feel free to post your opinions and comments (be nice).


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