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Goalies on the bubble

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

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

Top 10 Goalies Honorable Mentions

A look at who just missed the Top 10 Goalies list

Check out who just missed out on cracking the NHL Network's Top 10 Goalies Right Now before the show airs on Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. ET

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NHL Network knows who the best players are in the League right now. It will reveal its lists in a nine-episode series that runs up to the start of the regular season. The fourth episode premieres Sunday at 6 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 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]

 

NHL Network will answer that question Sunday, and Darren Pang, a goalie who played 81 games for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1984-89 and is an analyst for NHL Network, shared his input with what makes a top goalie.

"There is no goalie in the League that can be on the top list if he's left alone behind a weak defense," Pang said. "Nowadays, in order to be an elite goaltender, you have to have athleticism. ... There's not a goalie on the top 10 list who has bad feet or bad hands."

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

 

Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

Andersen was 36-16-7 with a 2.77 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and one shutout in 60 games last season to help the Maple Leafs clinch their third straight Stanley Cup Playoff berth. It was the third straight season he had at least 33 wins and the fourth in the past five. 

"Freddie Andersen doesn't get nearly enough credit," Pang said. "No. 1, playing in that city. No. 2, his ability to win games 2-1. And No. 3, he seems to remove a bad goal or a bad game and just plow forward, which I'm really impressed with."

Andersen, who turns 30 on Oct. 2, has 107 wins since the 2016-17 season, third most in the NHL behind Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (108) and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers (115). He is 184-79-38 with a 2.59 GAA, a .918 save percentage and 16 shutouts in 317 games in six NHL seasons.

Video: BOS@TOR, Gm6: Andersen stretches for fantastic save

 

Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks

Lehner had the best season of his nine in the NHL in 2018-19, going 25-13-5 with a 2.13 GAA (third in NHL), a .930 save percentage (second) and six shutouts (tied for fourth) in 46 games for the New York Islanders. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as best goalie in the NHL.

"Who wasn't impressed with Robin Lehner's bounce-back after we found out what happened in the offseason (addiction/mental health issues)?" Pang said. "[The Blackhawks] haven't been good defensively and had issues to their goaltending with the issues to Corey Crawford, and if Lehner steps in there right away and takes over, we're going to be talking an awful lot about Robin Lehner."

The 28-year-old, who signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks on July 1, won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance last season after detailing his struggles with addiction. Lehner helped the Islanders become the first team in the NHL's modern era (since 1943-44) to go from worst to first in goals-against; New York allowed 191 goals last season, earning Lehner and goalie Thomas Greiss the Jennings Trophy, after surrendering 293 in 2017-18.

Video: NYI@WSH: Lehner propels Isles to victory with shutout

 

Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins

In four NHL seasons, Murray has won the Stanley Cup two times (2016, 2017) and is the only player in NHL history to do so twice as a rookie. He went 32-10-4 with a 2.41 GAA, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts in 2016-17 after going 13-9-2 with a 2.00 GAA, a .930 save percentage and one shutout in 2015-16. In his NHL career, Murray is 97-42-14 with a 2.62 GAA, .917 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 161 games.

"A terrific goalie under pressure, but the team isn't at that elite level right now so I'm sure there were many great games that he played that we're overlooking, but there were also many games where there were some inconsistencies" Pang said. "Getting back on board in a consistent matter night after night, this will be a big year for Matt Murray in my opinion."

After becoming the fourth rookie in NHL history to win 15 games in a single postseason, going 15-6-0 with a 2.08 GAA, a .923 save percentage and one shutout in the 2016 playoffs, Murray did even better in the 2017 postseason, going 7-3-0 with a 1.70 GAA, a .937 save percentage and three shutouts. The 25-year-old finished fourth in voting for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL rookie of the year, in 2016-17 and has won at least 27 games in each of his three full NHL seasons.

Video: WPG@PIT: Murray makes 33 saves to shut out Jets

 

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

The runner-up for the Vezina Trophy in 2017-18, when he was 44-11-9 with a 2.36 GAA, a .924 save percentage and six shutouts in 67 games, Hellebuyck followed that up with 34 wins in 2018-19. The 26-year-old has 104 wins the past three seasons, and he has played 130 games the past two seasons, the most in the NHL.

"He's a guy that I look to to get back in the top 10 next year," Pang said. "Going from a substantial season with 44 wins to 34, you have to look at that and put it into place. High expectations in Winnipeg and they didn't exceed those expectations. He's a hardworking, disciplined guy. ... Last year, I don't think necessarily was a drop-off for him, but he set such a high standard that will make him hungry to get back to that 44-win category again."

Video: MIN@WPG, Gm5: Hellebuyck silences Wild in shutout win

 

Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

Hart generated buzz last season when he made his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 18 and earned his first NHL win with 20 saves in a 3-2 victory. The 21-year-old was 16-13-1 with a 2.83 GAA and .917 save percentage in 31 games and allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his 30 starts.

"Everything about the way he plays, he looks like a goalie," Pang said. "When you're watching him, you go 'wow!' Everything looks great with Carter Hart. He's even-keeled, and I think he's going to be a star in this league, just not yet to be in the top 10 with all the great goalies we have."

Video: CAR@PHI: Hart gloves down Niederreiter's backhander

 

Here is the remaining schedule (all episodes will air at 6 p.m. ET):

Aug. 25: Top 10 goalies

Sept. 1: Top 50 players (50-41)

Sept. 8: Top 50 players (40-31)

Sept. 15: Top 50 players (30-21)

Sept. 22: Top 50 players (20-11)

Sept. 29: Top 50 players (10-1)

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