I couldn't help but notice something interesting when the NHL released its three stars of the week on Monday. Sure, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was named the first star. That wasn't a surprise. But right behind him were Martin Jones of the Los Angeles Kings and Carter Hutton of the Nashville Predators, a pair of undrafted goalies who were playing in the American Hockey League last season.
And they're not the first goalies who have surprised people this season. Consider the excellent play of guys considered "backups," such as Antti Raanta, Ben Scrivens, Jonas Gustavsson, Cam Talbot, Marek Mazanec and Frederik Andersen. Heck, Curtis McElhinney has gone 3-1-0 with a .935 save percentage for the Columbus Blue Jackets since Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky was lost with a groin strain.
They're all proving they can play in the League. It's a limited body of work, but at least from a talent and ability standpoint, they're proving themselves. It just goes to show you how unpredictable sports can be at any position, but especially in goal. There can be an injury or a trade or someone not performing up to their level. That's why I definitely think it's been the year of the "backup."