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#NHLTopPlayers: Top 10 Goaltenders

NHL Network reveals best of current crop

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

From Stanley Cup champions to Vezina Trophy winners to all-stars, the NHL has many great goaltenders. NHL Network experts chose the top 10 goaltenders in the League for a special program that premiered Sunday as the fourth in a nine-part series leading up to the regular season. Here is the list:


[RELATED: Goalies on the bubble | Top 20 Centers | Top 20 Defensemen | Top 20 Wings | #NHLTopPlayers]


1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Bobrovsky won 37 games last season with a 2.42 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and five shutouts. That followed up his Vezina Trophy-winning season in 2016-17, when he was 41-17-5 with a 2.06 GAA, a .931 save percentage and seven shutouts. He also finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP that season.

"The one thing that stands out to me with Sergei Bobrovsky is his athleticism," said Brian Boucher, who was an NHL goalie for 13 seasons and is an NHL Network analyst. "This guy is as good an athlete as we have in the game today. One of the things that allows him to be so great [is] that cross-ice plays are not an issue for Sergei Bobrovsky. This guy is so powerful in his legs, his flexibility is so good, he's able to get to pucks that other goalies simply cannot get to."

Video: Sergei Bobrovsky comes in at No. 1 on the list

Bobrovsky, who turns 30 on Sept. 20, has won at least 30 games in four of the past five seasons and was a big reason the Blue Jackets had a 16-game winning streak, the longest in their history, from Nov. 29, 2016-Jan 3, 2017, going 14-0-0 in that span. He also was 10-0-2 with four shutouts, including three straight (March 2-7) from Feb. 26-March 28, 2017.

Bobrovsky won his first Vezina as the top goalie in the NHL in 2012-13.

Video: NHL Network unveils Top 10 Goalies Right Now


2. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

Holtby had the worst GAA (2.99) and save percentage (.907) of his eight-season NHL career in 2017-18 but helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history, going 16-7 with a 2.16 GAA, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"You're not always going to be at the top of your game during the regular season," Boucher said. "There's going to be times when your play dips, there's going be times when maybe your season's not [going] the way you want it to go. But in professional sports, especially in hockey and as a goaltender, you have to be ready at all times. … You've got to give credit where credit is due; he [won games] when it mattered most. Braden Holtby finally got that Stanley Cup."

Holtby, who turns 29 on Sept. 16, leads the NHL in wins (211) since the 2012-13 season. He had 34 wins last season and won at least 41 games in each of three prior seasons. Holtby won the Vezina Trophy in 2015-16, when he tied Martin Brodeur's NHL record with 48 wins (48-9-7) and had a 2.20 GAA, a .922 save percentage and three shutouts. He followed that up by going 42-13-6 with a 2.07 GAA, a .925 save percentage and an NHL-high nine shutouts in 2016-17, and finished second in Vezina Trophy voting.

Video: Braden Holtby takes the No. 2 spot on the list


3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

In his first season as Tampa Bay's No. 1 goalie, the 24-year-old finished tied for the NHL lead in wins (44; Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets) and shutouts (eight; Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators), and had a 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage to finish third in voting for the Vezina Trophy.

"For Vasilevskiy, being 24 years old, one would have to think that his best years are coming down the road," Boucher said. "That's a scary thought for opposing teams in the Eastern Conference. You're going to have to get through Tampa Bay, who already has a good team and then they've got a goaltender like this back there. [With] Vasilevskiy, like Bobrovsky, we talk about athleticism. These guys are truly gifted in the sense that not only do they not quit on pucks, but their agility, their flexibility allows them to just get to pucks that guys could only dream about getting to. They get to it with regularity."

Vasilevskiy's 64 starts were an NHL career high and tied for fourth most in the League. He helped the Lightning come within one win of the Stanley Cup Final last season, going 11-6 with a 2.58 GAA and .918 save percentage in 17 playoff games.

Video: Andrei Vasilevskiy lands at No. 3 on the list


4. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Hellebuyck, the Vezina runner-up last season, went 44-11-9 to set the single-season NHL record for wins by a United States-born goalie, and he ranked in the top 10 among NHL goalies to make at least 20 starts with a 2.36 GAA (tied for eighth), a .924 save percentage (10th) and six shutouts (third).

"You have to be impressed with the degree of changes he put into his game, really revamping how his body moved around in the crease," NHL Network analyst Mike Johnson said. "He's an NHL goalie and he changed the entire way that he played, so he's really answered the question. … Now he's there long-term on a good team and he'll be piling up 30, 40 wins a year as long as he stays healthy for the next several."

The 25-year-old set NHL career highs in starts (64), wins, save percentage and shutouts last season. In the playoffs, he was 9-8 with a 2.36 GAA, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 games to help the Jets advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time in their history.

Video: Connor Hellebuyck is named No. 4 on the list


5. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

Quick had 33 wins last season, marking the sixth time he has won at least that many in the past eight full NHL seasons. In the past five, he has had a GAA worse than 2.26 once (2.40 last season), and his save percentage has not been worse than .915 (2013-14). In 2015-16, he led the NHL in starts (68) and went 40-23-5 to finish third in Vezina voting, the third time in five seasons he was in the top five.

"It's a credit to him thinking the game the way he does, also having the ability to do it," Boucher said. "Now, he's not the biggest of goaltenders in the National Hockey League. At 6-foot-1, he has to get creative and find ways to find pucks. He may have to look above guys, he may have to look below guys, around guys. He's one of the best at finding pucks and fighting for pucks."

Quick, 32, helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup twice (2012, 2014). He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012 as playoff MVP when he went 16-4 with a 1.41 GAA, a .946 save percentage and three shutouts. He ranks fourth in the NHL in wins since the 2009-10 season (271).

Video: Jonathan Quick comes in at No. 5 on the list


6. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

Fleury was 29-13-4 with a 2.24 GAA (tied for second among NHL goalies who made at least 20 starts with Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes, behind Carter Hutton, who had a 2.09 GAA for the St. Louis Blues), a .927 save percentage (tied for sixth) and four shutouts with the Golden Knights last season. The 33-year-old, selected by Vegas from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, was 13-7 to help the Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final, and ranked first in shutouts (four) and second in GAA (2.24) and save percentage (.927) among goalies who played at least five postseason games.

The three-time Cup winner with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017) ranks third among active NHL goalies in wins (404) and fifth in shutouts (58), and he is first in playoff wins (75) and playoff shutouts (14).

"When you think about the way goaltenders play today, they're not just traditional blockers," Boucher said. "Marc-Andre Fleury, when he came in out of junior, he was a guy that was awfully active in the crease. [We] wondered if he'd be able to continue to play that way and not get injured. He's proven to be one of the very best over time. I think he's a sure-shot Hall of Famer. He had a fantastic year, let's see if he can back it up as the clock continues to tick on his age."

Video: Marc-Andre Fleury takes the No. 6 spot on the list


7. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rinne, who has played all 12 of his NHL seasons with the Predators, won the Vezina Trophy last season, going 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA, a .927 save percentage and eight shutouts. He is one of four NHL goalies to have at least 30 wins in each of the past four seasons (Holtby, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, Devan Dubnyk of the Coyotes and Minnesota Wild).

"One area of his game that I think stands out against other guys is his puck-handling," Boucher said. "This guy is a great skater, which allows him to get out and get the pucks, but then the decisions with the puck are crucial in helping his defense in getting out of the zone. The other thing he's got, we think about Marc-Andre Fleury having a great glove, but this guy has one of the best gloves in the League as well."

Rinne, 35, helped Nashville advance to its first Stanley Cup Final in 2017, when he was 14-8 with a 1.96 GAA, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts in the playoffs. His 148 wins in the past four seasons rank second in the NHL behind Holtby (165). He's a four-time Vezina finalist, finishing second in 2011 and 2015 and third in 2012. Rinne has helped the Predators qualify for the playoffs in seven of the past nine seasons.

Video: Pekka Rinne lands at No. 7 on the list


8. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask went 31-6-3 with a 2.19 GAA and .923 save percentage after going 3-8-2 with a 2.91 GAA and .899 save percentage in his first 13 starts last season. That included a stretch when the Bruins earned at least a point in 21 straight Rask starts from Nov. 29-Feb. 6 (19-0-2). He is the only goalie in the NHL with at least 31 wins in each of the past five seasons, and ranks second in wins (172) since the 2013-14 season, 16 behind Holtby (188).

"[He] picked up points in 21 straight decisions," Johnson said. "I mean, that's giving you consistency night after night after night. Yes, of course it has to do with the team in front of you, but when you can go a better part of four months and lose just a handful of times, that's having a tremendous year. I think Tuukka Rask [is] taking the emotion out of the game [and] getting a little more technical, more composed as he gets a little bit older brings out the best in him."

The 31-year-old has had at least three shutouts in each of the past seven seasons and a GAA of 2.30 or better in five of the past seven. Rask has never had a save percentage worse than .915 in the nine NHL seasons he has played at least 20 games.

Video: Tuukka Rask is named No. 8 on the list


9. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

Andersen had 71 wins in his two seasons with the Maple Leafs, including 38 in 2017-18, when he helped them reach the playoffs for the second straight season, the first time they've done that since making them six straight seasons from 1998-2004. His 132 starts in the past two seasons rank second behind Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers (140). Andersen, who turns 29 on Oct. 2, has won at least 20 games in each of his five NHL seasons and has an NHL career save percentage of .918.

"I think he's proved it over the last two years in Toronto that he can be that workhorse, that he can be that goaltender that provides consistent goaltending night after night," Boucher said. "That's what's important to be a No. 1 guy. Any guy can play well for a five-game stretch. It's about the guy that can do it for weeks on end, a couple of months on end. These are the guys you really can pay the money to and count on night after night to give you quality starts to win games."


10. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

Gibson won an NHL career-high 31 games last season and had a 2.43 GAA and .926 save percentage. The 25-year-old, who signed an eight-year contract extension Aug. 4, has 77 wins and 14 shutouts in the past three seasons, and is 93-55-20 with a 2.29 GAA and .923 save percentage in his NHL career. Last season, from the All-Star break on, Gibson went 14-4-2 with a 1.95 GAA and .937 save percentage.

"When he's on top of his game, he's as good as anyone," Johnson said. "But could he do it consistently and could he stay healthy enough to do it for a whole season? Well, I guess he answered both of those questions [last season] where he played a career high in games and was magnificent. High save percentage, goals-against … shorthanded save percentage, high-danger save percentage; he was very good in a lot of those categories. He just added the element of consistency to his athletic ability."

Video: John Gibson takes No. 10, Andersen comes in at No. 9

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