Aug
21

Justin’s 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List (20-11)

August 21, 2015, by
theatlantic.com

theatlantic.com

Welcome to the second installment of the 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List! This time around we will be ranking goaltenders 20-11. In case you missed it, the 30-21 bracket, in addition to all this year’s housekeeping considerations can be found right here. Since that all that good stuff was covered in the first post, let’s jump right in…

  1. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets. Last Year’s Ranking: N/R
Pavelec

Pavelec

  • Let’s start off with the one I know just I will get burned on for next year. Pavelec’s physical gifts are undeniable. He has a tremendous amount of talent and athleticism. His work ethic and hockey IQ are, let’s say suspect. He seemingly turned a corner this year in the latter part, after losing his starting job to Michael Hutchinson at the beginning of the season. Let’s see how long it lasts, but when he is on, his talent deserves top-20 status.
  1. Eddie Lack, Carolina Hurricanes. Last Year’s Ranking: N/R
Lack

Lack

  • There are few more likeable players in the NHL than Eddie Lack. His long distance bromance with Roberto Luongo is the stuff of legend. On the actual playing side, Lack is a classic late blooming, large goaltender. The 6’5” Swede had his breakout year at age 27 and was shipped to the Carolina Hurricanes at the Draft for two 3rd round picks. He will be a very good goalie on a very bad team.
  1. Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers. Last Year’s Ranking: N/R
Talbot

Talbot

  • This is the ranking that I’m sure Rangers fans have been the most curious about. I still have some long-term consistency issues with Talbot’s ultimate upside as a starter, but his tangible changes in technique and execution have me very bullish on his chances to stick as a full-time goaltender. I don’t think his upside is the .941 sv% guy we saw in New York, but I think his floor is fairly high. He should provide some much needed stability to a (still!) rebuilding Edmonton club.
  1. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild. Last Year’s Ranking: N/R

Dubnyk

  • This time last season, Dubnyk had basically played himself out of the NHL. I liked his upside as he developed in Edmonton, but seemingly fell off a cliff. Apparently, Dubnyk began to experiment with a new puck-tracking system and it paid off massively. Upon his trade to Minnesota, he ran off a truly Vezina-worth half a season for the Wild. They generously rewarded him with a 6-year deal. Risky move, but it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.
  1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins. Last Year’s Ranking: 26
Fleury

Fleury

  • After years of post-season struggles and inconsistency plague the former number one overall pick, possibly interim GM Jim Rutherford rewarded Fleury with a shiny new 4-year contract. It was curious, to say the least. Fleury, however, responded with the best statistical season he has ever put up. He was solid if unspectacular in the playoffs and has seemingly settled in. The Penguins had several problem areas last season, but Fleury was not one of them.
  1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets Last Year’s Ranking: 12
Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky

  • After a Vezina-winning, Lock-out shortened season, Bobrovsky has settled in with the Jackets as a slightly above average starter with some consistency issues. His tendency to wander and overplay his angles has long-plagued his upside, but as we have seen, he can be absolutely lights-out in short spurts. He is the type of guy that could win a playoff series or two all on his own. He just has to get you there first.
  1. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers. Last Year’s Ranking: 20
Mason

Mason

  • Outside of Jake Vorecek, Mason was far and away the Flyers’ best player last season. Tasked with supporting a ridiculously over-paid and under-performing blue line, Mason delivered the best statistical season of his career. At age-27, he should be entering his prime and the Flyers will be all the more relevant because of it.
  1. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs. Last Year’s Ranking: 15
Bernier

Bernier

  • Bernier is a tricky ranking for me. He still has all the talent in the world and is getting into his prime years. On the other hand, the Leafs are an absolute tire fire and it’s extremely difficult to see how a goaltender is actually performing under those conditions. Bernier just signed a two-year deal in Toronto, but something tells me he will be begging to leave when that term is up, unless something changes drastically.
  1. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings. Last Year’s Ranking: 5
Howard

Howard

  • Everyone talks about what a brutal year Howard had, however his year was not all that statistically dissimilar to his 2014-2015 campaign. He lost the confidence of coach Mike Babcock, but still delivered passable numbers. I think Howard should rebound for next year, as motivation not to lose his job to the very talented Petr Mrazek becomes the focus. Howard slipped a big in my rankings due to last season’s performance inconsistencies, but he has a track record of quality play that makes it very difficult to give up on him.
  1. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning. Last Year’s Ranking: 8
Bishop

Bishop

  • Bishop’s performance slipped a bit from last year and he found his first taste of playoff action a bit challenging. All is to be expecting from a late bloomer learning the ropes of backstopping a contender. Bishop is still one of the most talented goaltenders in the league based on physical tools alone. I think he should begin to focus more on the mobility side of his game as the league gets faster and he gets a little older. With Andre Vasilevskeiy waiting in the wings, I wonder is Bishop will get a little long in the tooth quicker than he would like…

That does it for our middle section. Make sure to stop by next week to see the epic conclusion of this year’s edition. Make sure to drop your opinions of the rankings in the comments below!

"Justin's 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List (20-11)", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
Categories : Goaltending, Offseason

18 comments

  1. Bayman says:

    The Bobrovsky ranking seems a bit absurd.

      • Bayman says:

        Vezina-winning goalie in 2014. 2015 found CBJ mangled by injuries all season. Hard to discredit Bobrovsky considering the situation. They still found a way to put together a respectable record, with a nice run late in the season when they were finally mostly healthy. Hard to imagine him any worse than a top-10 goalie. And, behind Mason? Really?

        • 43 says:

          I think the Dubnyk rating is a little low, too. I understand he’d been pretty awful before last season and he only played half of last year, but he seems to have really turned a corner and become a really good goalie.

        • Chris72 says:

          Once again, with you 110% Bayman! Sergei was borderline unbeatable during that late season run the Jackets went on. Bernier is another head scratcher in comparison to Bobrovsky.

          Hey Josh, I fully understand these rankings are just your personal opinion, but I have to ask, what’s your reasoning behind Mason and Bernier ranking higher than Bobrovsky? Just curious

    • pavel_burrito says:

      It would help to clarify “absurd” a bit. Too high or too low?

    • Chris72 says:

      I had the same exact reaction Bayman. Mason and Bernier ahead of Bobrovsky? A tad bit on the HUH????? side. Did Sergei key scratch your Benz or something? This sounds personal

  2. Monty says:

    Great reading Justin. Are you going to make also a list of goaltenders who fell of your list from last year for whatever reason? I can see a lot of new names on your list for this year so it makes me wonder who they replaced, what happened to them and what might have been a cause of their drop in performance… Thanks.

  3. Spozo says:

    Personally I will be shocked if Talbot ends the season as the 18th ranked goalie. Maybe it’s sour grapes but I think there’s a reason they didn’t end up with a 1st round pick. GMs aren’t as sold on him as some rangers fans were this past season.

    Well only time will tell!

    • Ray says:

      Justin will also be shocked. This will be Talbot’s first year as a full time tender and we will know a lot more about him than we do now. Expect him to move at least five spots in next year’s rankings. I doubt Justin would be at all surprised by a top ten rating next year – or one outside the top 30. This is just his best estimate for now.

      Personally, I expect his numbers to sour somewhat on a less defensibly responsible team. He will keep his job, not be mentioned in the Vezina conversation, and ultimately lose the Conn Smythe to McDavid.

      I really disliked the trade. My impression was that Sather sold Talbot cheaply to avoid dealing him to an Eastern rival. Instead, he shipped him to a team much more likely to win it all. The Oilers clearly have the forward talent, but badly needed the right tender. The defense is still suspect, but they have begun to address that and more will happen at the trade deadline and perhaps before.

      Incidentally, I don’t fault the Rangers for trading Talbot. I just think they got too little and dealt him to the wrong team.

      • Spozo says:

        Is this sarcasm or do you honestly think the Oilers can win the cup this year?

        • Ray says:

          Actually I really do. But there is one caveat. Todd McLellan is a quality coach, but a team will never go anywhere unless it buys into what the coach is saying and plays his systems. With a lot of super talented kids with high egos, this not a given. If he can really make it his team, they will go far.

          • 43 says:

            I mean, I guess you never really know, but they’re more than likely a few years away from making noise. But you never know, McDavid could really be that good already and carry them as a low seed into the playoffs.

            I’m unsure of how Talbot will do. I think Benoit Allaire molded him into a good goalie, but it’s going to be interesting to see how he does without Allaire’s guidance.

            • Alec says:

              McDavid got shut down by Oshawa because they leaned on him physically. That’s every shift most nights in the NHL. He’ll rack up points on the PP, but unless the refs call interference every time someone finishes their check I think McDavid will struggle somewhat. His struggle is probably better than most players great season, but struggle just the same.

              • Chris72 says:

                Very ambitious Ray. I applaud your Moxie. Has there ever been a team to pick 1st overall in the draft and win the Cup the following year? The Bruins selected Tyler Seguin 2nd overall in 2010 (a pick they obtained from Toronto for Phil Kessel) and the next year won the Cup in 2011. That doesn’t qualify since the Bruins didn’t obtain the pick due to their record the previous season. Worst to first is nearly impossible in a sport with a salary cap.

    • Chris72 says:

      If the tables were turned and the Rangers were the team in need of a goaltender, I wouldn’t have wanted the Rangers to surrender a first round pick to obtain Talbot. Not that I’m not a fan of Talbot, I just think 1. the sample size was too small to warrant a first rounder, and 2. their’s a very real possibility that Talbot’s lofty numbers were due largely in part to the Rangers defense. Like you said Spozo, time will tell

      • Ray says:

        It goes both ways. Who would you rather have, Cam Talbot or Dylan McIlrath? And McIlrath is a step up from Hugh Jessiman. Talbot isn’t a sure thing, but neither is a first rounder. Oh, you probably hang on to a top ten pick unless you get something safe in return, but otherwise it is just one crapshoot for another.

        • Chris72 says:

          I think the Jessiman pick was less about Jessiman and more about Sather. If we’re in a position where we are selecting in the top ten, I believe Gorton will do a better job than Sather. That shouldn’t be too hard. Sather had much more success in the later rounds of drafts during his tenure with the Rangers. Lundqvist, Hagelin, Fast, Callahan, Dubinsky and Zidlicky to name a few.