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Top Players

Goalies on the bubble

Five who fell short of making NHL Network's Top 10 list

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL Network knows who the best players are in the League right now. They will reveal their lists in a nine-episode series that runs through the start of the regular season. The fourth episode premieres Sunday at 7 p.m. ET and focuses on the top 10 goalies.

Did your favorite goalie make the list? Tune in Sunday to find out and join the conversation with the #NHLTopPlayers hashtag. Here is a preview of the series and a look at five goalies on the bubble who just missed the top 10.

There are a lot of great goalies in the NHL, but who are the 10 best right now?

 

[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers Right Now | Centers on the bubble | Defensemen on the bubbleWings on the bubble]

 

NHL Network will answer that question Sunday, and Brian Boucher, a goalie who played 13 NHL seasons and is an analyst for NHL Network, shared his input with what makes a top wing.

"You have to give your team a chance to win," Boucher said. "I think anyone that wins 30-plus games and can start 60-plus games and do it on a regular basis, these guys don't grow on trees and are hard to find, so when you can and are able to develop them, it's a plus for any organization."

The top 10 goalies will be revealed in the show, but Boucher discussed some on the bubble who just missed the cut among the show producers and NHL Network analysts who made up the selection panel.

Video: A look at who just missed the Top 10 Goalies list

 

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Price had the worst goals-against average (3.11) and save percentage (.900) of his 11-season NHL career in 2017-18, when he was 16-26-7 in 49 games. Prior to that, the 31-year-old had won at least 34 games in four of the past six full NHL seasons. He has a career 2.46 GAA and .918 save percentage, and his 226 wins since 2010-11 rank sixth in the NHL.

"I love his calmness in the net," Boucher said. "I think he is poised. He reads the play as good as anybody in the game. When you do that, it allows you to make the proper save selections. When he is on top of his game, it appears that he isn't trying and the game is too easy for him. Last year was a tough year, but when he is on top of his game, he is tough to beat."

Price won the Vezina Trophy in 2015 after leading the NHL in wins (44), GAA (1.96) and save percentage (.933), and finishing tied for second in shutouts with Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (nine) behind Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins (10). He also won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players' Association. Price finished third in Vezina voting in 2016-17 (37-20-5, 2.23 GAA, .923 save percentage, three shutouts).

Video: TBL@MTL: Price rolls over for incredible OT save

 

Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins

In three NHL seasons, Murray has won the Stanley Cup twice (2016, 2017). He is the only player in NHL history to win the Cup two times as a rookie. The 24-year-old went 32-10-4 with a 2.41 GAA, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts in 2016-17 before going 27-16-3 with a 2.92 GAA, a .907 save percentage and one shutout last season. In his NHL career, Murray is 68-28-8 with a 2.58 GAA, a .917 save percentage and six shutouts in 111 games.

"Still a young guy learning his way through the NHL," Boucher said. "Having success early on sometimes raises expectations, but he has good awareness. You can't question whether or not he can get it done on the ice. He does seem to get nicked up from time to time, but there is still time to make adjustments to that part of his game."

After becoming the fourth rookie to win 15 games in a single Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 15-6 with a 2.08 GAA and .923 save percentage in 2016, Murray was even better in the 2017 postseason, going 7-3 with a 1.70 GAA, a .937 save percentage and three shutouts. He finished fourth in voting for the 2016-17 Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL rookie of the year.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Murray stones Vrana on breakaway

 

Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

Jones was 30-22-6 with a 2.55 GAA, a .915 save percentage and four shutouts in 60 games last season. He is 102-68-16 with a 2.40 GAA, .915 save percentage and 12 shutouts in three seasons with the Sharks.

"He is just a steady guy," Boucher said. "He's not spectacular, but he just shows up year after year and is able to play a high volume of games. He's always in position, and I think he has a good awareness of the game and reads plays well. He has grown year after year and has developed into a quality NHL goaltender."

In 2015-16, Jones, 28, finished third in the NHL in wins (37) and tied for seventh in GAA (2.27). He was 22-7-3 with a 2.20 GAA and .925 save percentage on the road, helping the Sharks to an NHL-high 28 road wins, the most in their history. He helped the Sharks reach their first Stanley Cup Final that season, going 14-10 in the playoffs with a 2.16 GAA, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts. He won the Stanley Cup as Jonathan Quick's backup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2013-14.

Video: SJS@VGK, Gm5: Jones kicks out pad to stone Neal

 

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Lundqvist has been one of the most consistent goalies in the NHL since entering the League in 2005-06. Prior to winning 26 games last season, he had at least 30 wins in each of the previous 11 full NHL seasons. Lundqvist's 431 wins and 63 shutouts each rank second among active NHL goalies behind Roberto Luongo's 471 and 76. He is a five-time Vezina finalist, winning the award in 2012.

"Well decorated career," Boucher said. "I think last year, although he was a workhorse, there seemed to be some fatigue in his game, and obviously when you don't have the type of squad in front of you that some of these other teams do, it can show. One would have to think his best days are behind him, but I think his focus is second to none and he competes."

Lundqvist made the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2006, the NHL First All-Star Team in 2012 and the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2013. He helped the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final three times in four seasons from 2012-15 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. New York has made the playoffs in 11 of his 13 seasons.

Video: NYR@WSH: Lundqvist thwarts Ovechkin with stellar save

 

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

Dubnyk has turned around his career since being traded to the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15, 2015. In 39 games with Minnesota that season, he was 27-9-2 with a 1.78 GAA, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts, and finished third in Vezina voting and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team. Dubnyk followed that by going 32-26-6 with a 2.33 GAA, a .918 save percentage and five shutouts in 2015-16.

"He's done a nice job since coming over from the Coyotes," Boucher said. "A big guy (6-foot-6, 218 pounds) who uses his size for his advantage. I think the Wild play solid defense and limit the high-quality chances. He's a guy who has done a lot of work to become what he's become. He had a nice year last year but falls out of the top 10 because some guys had great years."

Dubnyk, 32, was 35-16-7 with a 2.52 GAA, a .918 save percentage and five shutouts in 60 games last season, the fourth straight season he won at least 30 games. In 2016-17, he had an NHL career-high 40 wins (40-19-5), finishing fourth in the NHL. Dubnyk is one of four goalies (Holtby, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne) to have at least 30 wins in each of the past four seasons.

Video: MIN@WPG, Gm5: Dubnyk makes save after odd carom

 

Here is the schedule (all episodes will air at 7 p.m. ET):

Aug. 26: Top 10 goalies

Sept. 2: Top 50 players (50-41)

Sept. 9: Top 50 players (40-31)

Sept. 16: Top 50 players (30-21)

Sept. 23: Top 50 players (20-11)

Sept. 30: Top 50 players (10-1)

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