Ranking the top 10 NHL goaltenders entering the 2021-22 season

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It’s getting chillier out which might solely imply one factor: the NHL season is true round the nook. 

After two wonky seasons, 2021-22 is shaping as much as be a full 82-game slate (knock wooden, please) chock stuffed with the slickest objectives, the flashiest saves and numerous big-time moments. But, earlier than issues get underway, and as the league hits the reset button, it is the good time to type by way of the rosters and choose the top goaltenders, defensemen and forwards. 

The 2021 offseason flew by however not and not using a flurry of masked males shifting squads. Marc-Andre Fleury headed to the Windy City by way of a (stunning to all, together with Fleury) commerce. Everyone thought Philipp Grubauer was sticking round Denver however left for the Pacific Northwest with Darcey Kuemper taking his spot. The Hurricanes and Maple Leafs basically swapped goalies, albeit by way of free company: Petr Mrazek headed north whereas Frederik Andersen went south.

Taking into consideration latest numbers and who might be primed for a star-making season, Sporting News breaks down the top-10 netminders in 2021-22.

Honorable point out: Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), Jakob Markstrom (Calgary Flames), Darcey Kuemper (Colorado Avalanche), Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues), Cam Talbot (Minnesota Wild), Mike Smith (Edmonton Oilers)

Note: Tuukka Rask’s standing for the upcoming season remains to be TBD, subsequently, he has been left off this checklist as he recovers from hip surgical procedure.

Top 10 goaltenders in 2021-22

10. Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes

Andersen struggled in 2021, and after watching the Amazon docuseries, “All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs,” it could not simply have been about the knee damage. Last season he posted a career-worst 2.96 goals-against common and .895 save share alongside a 13-8-3 document. Not stellar numbers for a man who was an all-star in 2020. The Maple Leafs’ workers misplaced confidence in the Danish star and a change of surroundings ought to assist spark Andersen as he is slotted in as the No. 1 man in Carolina. It additionally will not harm that the Hurricanes posted the fifth-fewest objectives towards per recreation final season because of a stable defensive core led by Lady Byng winner Jaccob Slavin.

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9. Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks

The American netminder’s ability and deft continues to develop year-over-year. In 2020, “Bubble Demko” was a star in net for the Canucks as he boasted a 0.64 GAA and .985 save share throughout the Summer of 2020. The 2021 season wasn’t anyplace close to as pristine however there have been stretches. In March he went 8-3-0 with a 2.15 GAA, .937 save share and one shutout. After getting back from a bout with COVID-19, he misplaced 4 however then stopped 132 of the final 140 pictures he confronted for a .943 save share to shut out the season. At simply 25, if he constantly showcases his excessive degree of ability, it’s going to be a powerful 12 months for him that might embrace a purple, white and blue jersey too.

8. Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

Since the begin of the 2018-19 season, Saros has posted a .930 save share at 5v5 (per Natural Stat Trick, min. 2000 TOI), the sixth-best in the NHL over that span. Last season he completed tied for fourth with a career-best in save share (.927) and firmly took over the No. 1 spot in Tennessee. (Pekka Rinne additionally retired this summer season.) He additionally had profession highs in wins (21) and GAA (2.28) and will solely construct on these numbers in 2021-22.

7. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers

Speaking of 5v5 numbers since 2018-10, Shesterkin is parked proper under Saros at .929 (granted he is performed simply 47 video games to the Predators netminder’s 107). One quantity he leads the pack in for that point span: High Danger Save Percentage (.871). That quantity is best than guys like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tuukka Rask and sure, Henrik Lundqvist. Now that the King is formally retired, it is time for Shesterkin — who has at all times been his inheritor obvious — to shine.  

6. Robin Lehner, Vegas Golden Knights

Last season, Lehner mixed with Marc-Andre Fleury to snag the William M. Jennings Trophy after permitting the fewest objectives. It wasn’t the first time Lehner’s title appeared on the trophy; he received it in 2019 with Thomas Greiss on Long Island. Now, after some shuffling round the previous few years, Lehner is firmly planted in Nevada as the No. 1 man. In 19 begins in 2021, he went 13-4-2 with a .913 save share (his lowest since 2017-18’s .908 in Buffalo). The postseason was nothing to put in writing dwelling about however after a season the place he battled a concussion, he is able to go.

5. Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken

It was a surprising transfer when it was introduced. Everyone anticipated Grubauer to re-sign with the Avalanche. Instead, he took his abilities to the Land of Starbucks and grunge.

“Once the [free agency] window opened, Seattle called and it was a no-brainer for me to join a club that’s brand new, to be part of something and make history like [the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017] did, to be the first guys who they sign with this team,” Grubauer said after inking his six-year, $35.4 million deal. 

How his numbers will look is anybody’s guess since it is a brand-spanking-new crew in entrance of him however he does deliver alongside a powerful resume. Last season he went 30-9-1 with a 1.95 GAA, a .922 save share and 7 shutouts to earn a Vezina Trophy finalist nod. Of course, in entrance of him, he had the likes of Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. Grubauer is a man who has a profession .920 save share so he is actually no slouch, and neither are the guys enjoying in entrance of him now — led by 2019 Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano. The large query is simply how they will all gel.

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4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Chicago Blackhawks

If the Grubauer signing was surprising, the Fleury commerce was earth-shattering. Now is not the time to delve again into how this was horrifically dealt with by the Golden Knights (click on here for that) however to showcase why the Blackhawks did every part proper. Yes, Fleury is on the different facet of 35 (he’ll flip 37 in November) however he simply received the Vezina Trophy — his first, in addition — after notching a 26-10-0 document with a 1.98 goals-against common, a .928 save share and a 20.1 Goals Saved Above Average. Only 4 guys in the league had a GSAA over 20 and solely seven (with 30+ video games performed) have been in double digits. Per Hockey Reference, he had 26 high quality begins, which was good for a .722 high quality begin share — second-best in the league amongst guys who went into the paint for a minimum of 20 video games. Basically, Fleury is sort of a effective wine and simply getting higher with age.

3. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders

Sporting News’ darkish horse to win the Vezina, Varlamov has the benefit of enjoying beneath a system that stresses protection. It has boosted his numbers and he completed final season with a league-best (amongst goalies with greater than 25 begins) .929 save share, 74.3 Quality Start share and 21.97 GSAA, per Hockey Reference.  He tied Fleury with seven shutouts and had the third-best goals-against common (2.04) in the NHL. He’ll cut up time with Ilya Sorokin (who will certainly be on this checklist in the years to come back) which can maintain him contemporary for what Island’s devoted are hoping is an extended playoff run.

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2. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

There is nobody on this checklist — neigh, nobody in the NHL — who carries the load greater than Hellebuyck. Between 2018-19 and the 2021 season, Hellebuyck led the NHL in ice time at 9,577:31 minutes, which was nearly 1000 greater than the man in the No. 2 slot (Andrei Vasilevskiy, 8,852 minutes). He additionally confronted the most pictures in every of these three seasons for a grand whole of 5,182 pictures towards, stopping 4,751 of them.  That’s numerous rubber however he additionally had the fifth-best save share (.917) and third-best GSAA (39.19), per Natural Stat Trick, throughout that span. In 2020, he snagged the Vezina after going 31-21-5 with a .922 save share and 6 shutouts and completed fourth in 2021. It’s truthful to say that, mainly, how Hellebuyck goes is how the Jets go and it will be fascinating how he does after carrying the load for therefore lengthy.

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Not a shocker right here. Vasilevskiy is the greatest goalie in the NHL — and that is not bulls— (see: Nikita Kucherov). Sporting News’ choose to win the Vezina, the Russian netminder is coming off a season the place he was the runner-up for the top prize however received his second consecutive Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe. Last season he went 31-10-1 (Tampa Bay received 36 video games in whole) with a .925 save share, 5 shutouts and a 20.96 GSAA. Yes, he is performed numerous hockey in the final two years however the 27-year-old is in his prime and there isn’t any stopping him now. 

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