Aug
18

Justin’s 6th Annual Top 31 Goaltenders List (31-20)

August 18, 2017, by

You will never be this cool

Welcome to the 6th Annual Top 31 Goaltenders List.  Can you believe it’s been six years already?  Wild.  Anyway, this was one of the most difficult years to rank, in that many veteran goaltenders started to reclaim for former glory and a few young guys took aim at some top 10 stalwarts.  However, with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights as the league’s 31st team, I got to add another spot to the rankings, giving me a little extra breathing room.

So, let’s get the house keeping stuff out of the way before we get to some honorable mentions and our first section of the list.  The criteria for the rankings are as follows:  I am advising a hypothetical “team” on a one-year solution between the pipes.  I am completely ignoring concepts of age, contract status, incumbent goaltender, contention window or any other factors relating to the status of said “team”.  Everything is in a vacuum and all about current talent level that can be projected out for the next twelve months.  It goes without saying this whole exercise is for fun and massively subjective, so feel free to run me through the gautlet in the comments. 

Now, onto the honorable mentions, in no particular order:

Mike Smith- Calgary Flames

Smith had another solid year in the desert, but going on 35 and his track record of losing control of his limbs make me leery of buying in at this stage of his career.  He is still capable of great performances, I would just worry they wouldn’t come consistently enough.

Robin Lehner- Buffalo Sabres

There is no question that Robin Lehner is a talented goaltender.  It’s also fairly certain he is a dangerously insane individual has some focus and anger issues on the mental side of the game.  He is prone to meltdowns after goals and losses, as well as violent outbursts.  It’s his inability to control his emotions that hold him back from consistently displaying his considerable talent.

Jimmy Howard- Detroit Red Wings

Howard had a really solid season for a pretty terrible Red Wings’ team this past season.  I’m tempted to buy back in given his history being a good goaltender, but I’d like to see at least one more season like this from the 33 year old.

So, without further adieu, your Top 31 goaltenders…

  1. Craig Anderson- Ottawa Senators (last year’s rank: N/R)

Anderson- NHL.com

As many of you know, I am an unabashed Anderson hater.  I don’t like his style, I don’t like his fundamentals and I don’t like his save execution.  However, he is a gamer with a big frame who takes up a lot of net.  I’ve long held the position that he could not put up his typical numbers over a 60+ game sample, but if you have a capable backup and can ride Anderson when he gets hot, you could reap big benefits.  This is to say nothing of his wife’s courageous battle with cancer that has made him something of a folk hero in Ottawa, he is also a guy who is easy to root for.

  1. Semyon Varlamov- Colorado Avalanche (last year’s rank: 15)

Varlamov- NHL.com

I have no idea what happened to Varlamov last season aside from, I guess, just the Avalanche.  The bottom fell out statistically and he struggled with pretty much every shot type.  He is way too young (29) and way too talented to completely abandon all hope for, but last season was epically terrible.  With no real improvement for the Av’s on the horizon, Varlamov is going to have to adjust to getting peppered every night or he is going to be in trouble.

  1. Ryan Miller- Anaheim Ducks (last year’s rank: 23)

Miller- SBNation.com

Miller is what I like to call a metronome goaltender.  Just wind him up and run him out there expecting something in line with his career numbers.  At 37, he chose to embrace the mentor role to John Gibson in Anaheim, but if pressed into starting duties for any period of time, the Ducks are in good hands.

  1. Pekka Rinne- Nashville Predators (last year’s rank: 24)

Rinne- thescore.com

There has been quite a bit of debate around Rinne the past couple seasons.  Some see a top 5 talent finding his way back from a series of injuries.  I see a really talented guy who is entering his age 35 season who has lost the body control necessary to be an elite goaltender at this stage of his career.  This is masked by one of the NHL’s best defenses, but make no mistake, Rinne is not the goaltender he was a couple of years ago.

  1. Petr Mrazek- Detroit Red Wings (last year’s rank: 14)

Mrazek- TheAthletic.com

Not wholly unlike Robin Lehner, Mrazek’s mental game deteriorated his past season, leading to abysmal results.  Granted, the Wings were pretty brutal, but his attitude toward committing to his craft and continuing to improve has held him back from capitalizing on his tremendous debut last season.  Being an NHL goaltender is exceptionally difficult and if your attitude is that you are already elite, you won’t be for long.  That said, there is too much talent here to give up on, he just needs to find that commitment again.

  1. James Reimer- Florida Panthers (last year’s rank: N/R)

Reimer- Getty Images

Like with Anderson, I am a Reimer hater.  I don’t like anything about his game, but he has gotten results over the past few years.  He has shown that he struggles in large samples, but play him for ~45 games, his athleticism can take over and you can get really good results.  Just make sure you have a quality backup.

  1. Louis Domingue- Arizona Coyotes (last year’s rank: 25)

Domingue- Icon Sportswire

Domingue has a rough go of it last season in Arizona and has since been displaced by the newly acquired Antti Raanta.  However, I think this is the best thing for the 25 year old to regain his form.  All of the pressure is going to be on Raanta to perform, and his workload is going to be lighter so he can focus on game by game preparation.  I like Domingue for a nice bounce back season.

  1. Andre Vasilevskiy- Tampa Bay Lightning (last year’s rank: 29)

Vasilevskiy- Getty Images

Certainly not a terrible debut as a starter for the young Russian, but definitely not one he was hoping for.  There was a little too much bad Jonathan Quick in his game this season, becoming too reliant on his ridiculous athleticism and struggling mightily on low-danger shots.  His is one of the most talented young goaltenders in the league, he just needs to tighten up his technical discipline and commit to the long-haul mindset required to carry a big workload.  Having last year’s experience should be invaluable for his development going forward.

  1. Steve Mason- Winnipeg Jets (last year’s rank: 7)

Mason- Philly Sun

There is no debating that Mason struggled this season getting hung out to dry by a terrible Flyers’ defense.  The past few years, he was a statistical darling for his performance in spite of that very same defense, but the wheels finally came off.  Mason is now free of the goaltending graveyard that is Philadelphia, but his poor performance was ill-timed.  He ended up having to take a platoon role in Winnipeg with Connor Hellebuyck, where he should thrive with more sheltered starts and a solid partner.  We haven’t seen the last of good Steve Mason.

  1. Jake Allen- St. Louis Blues (last year’s rank: 16)

Allen- USA Today

Allen is the goaltending equivalent of vanilla ice cream. Solid, if unspectacular, gets the job done most of the time.  He reminds me a lot of some of the old Detroit goaltenders during the dynasty years.  Not good enough to lead a team to a Cup, but plenty capable to backstop a team already good enough to win.  Not exactly superlatives, I know, but I do think there is some development left in Allen.  Either way, he is carving out a nice little career for himself.

  1. Connor Hellebuyck- Winnipeg Jets (last year’s rank: 21)

Hellebuyck- Zimbio.com

Poor Hellebuyck.  Rushed to the show at 21, then everyone threw their arms up when he wasn’t Carey Price immediately (Carey Price wasn’t even Carey Price immediately).  I thought it was a bit of a panic move for the Jets to bring Mason on as a safety net for the young Michigan native, however, I think having a partner around who understands high expectations as a rookie and learning how to find your game will be really valuable to Hellebuyck’s development.  Still one of the most talented young goaltenders in the game, I expect to see a big step forward this season from Winnipeg’s (still) goaltender of the future.

There you have it.  The first eleven in the books, 20 to go.  Let’s hear your thoughts on the rankings in the comments below.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

"Justin's 6th Annual Top 31 Goaltenders List (31-20)", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.

51 comments

  1. SalMerc says:

    Very tough to agree with the rankings when Anderson is 31st and his team went so far. They did have a great defenseman, but he was a great offensive threat and not part of a team that scored 5 goals a game. Otherwise the others are clearly bottom of the barrel.

  2. Mancunian Candidate says:

    The Anderson hate is unwarranted. Definitely a top 20 NHL netminder. The guy has owned the Rangers no matter where he’s played as well. At least you mentioned his classiness last season as far as his wife’s health situation–that was an inspirational story. For anyone who’s ever dealt with cancer (whether themselves or a loved one), to see an athlete that devoted to his partner is a great thing.

  3. Justin says:

    I will say this about Anderson. If I was doing a “Top 30 goaltenders to win you a playoff series”, he would be ranked a lot higher. My issue with him he that he gets exposed under a full starter’s workload. Technical discipline is paramount to consistency and he just flat out does not have it. That isn’t to say he isn’t good, he is, but I would be very reluctant to hand him the keys to 60+ starts.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      That’s a fair response. Anderson has been very inconsistent throughout his career. But I still think Anderson is a better goalie than you guys do. He’s had .914, .916, .917 SV percentages in the 3 seasons in his career where he made 60+ regular season starts, which isn’t that bad….kinda just around league average.

      • Justin says:

        League average is fair, I just trust it less because of his age and the fact that I don’t believe in his playing style. You are very welcome to feel differently, which is why this type of thing is so subjective.

  4. Mr Wonderful says:

    #28 and #31 goalies teams were in the NHL finals and semi-finals (lost to Champs in 7 games). I guess a great D system might be more important than a great goalie. Or (frankly), is the difference between #1 and #31 not all that much?

    Just askin’

    • Justin says:

      Couple of concepts at play here. First, is the difference between talent and performance. I’m trying to handicap talent going forward, not who performed better last season.

      Second, just because Anderson ended up in the Conference Finals in itself doesn’t mean much. He was very mediocre against the Rangers, who really beat themselves.

      Third, a good defense can certainly mask a mediocre goaltender, just as a great goaltender can mask a mediocre defense. Performance doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The biggest difference between 1-31 isn’t so much raw talent level, but the ability to apply that talent over a large sample of games, years and a career as a whole.

      You look at guys in the Top 10 and they have played at a consistently high level with heavy work loads for years. If these guys are in the NHL, they have the ability to get scalding hot for a week, a month or a season, which can lead to serious recency bias when judging current talent level. Its all about long-term consistency.

      • SalMerc says:

        Agreed, but this is the annual ranking. You need to throw away some of the prejudice from years past and just look at last years performance. You also cannot disconnect a teams win/loss record from a goalies ranking. They are tied at the hip.

        • Justin says:

          I disagree. I think past performance informs future projection. Last year’s performance isn’t the end all, be all, either. You can see regression in either direction and rank accordingly.

          You absolutely can disconnect a team’s win/loss from the rankings, as there is typically correlation, but not necessarily causation. I am looking at statistical performance and scouting criteria when developing the rankings. The idea is to remove the other five players on the ice as much as possible.

      • Ray says:

        If Anderson plays for the Rangers, Hank for Ottawa, Anderson still wins that series. His form was not equal to Hank, but he made the timely saves.

        I think the “a great goaltender can mask a mediocre defense” is complicated. It is more about style. Rinne makes his defense look better; Lundqvist makes his look worse. The former helps his defense control the game; the latter keeps their mistakes out of the net. The forgiving eye may forget the mistakes sooner, but we see them all.

        • pavel_burito says:

          How do you make last year’s defense look worse? I would argue that Hank consistently made up for his d-men’s shortcomings, and that is one of the reasons why it took so long for management to accept the problem.

          • Ray says:

            Absolutes are not easy to come by. Consider: Dan Girardi often played against the opposition’s top players and finished +8. He got a nice 2 yr. $6M contract from TB, not a dumb organization. No, he is not a $5.5M a year guy, but there is a strong argument that he is a pretty decent hockey player.

            Then again, maybe he is not.

            In either case, while Lundqvist may be frequently bailing out the defense, he is not masking any weaknesses.

        • AWDS says:

          Regardless of Hank’s inability to handle the puck, he does not hinder the defense.

          Quite frankly, even if Hank could handle the puck as well as RInne, players like Girardi would still have found ways to turn it over.

          He’d still be one of the league’s worst at both moving or controlling the puck. Ditto for Staal et al.

          That’s not Hank’s fault.

  5. Reenavipul says:

    When I saw Varlamov last season(November ish) he just looked like his hip flexors were that of a 50 year old. Could not recover if he went butterfly.

    • Justin says:

      That’s entirely possible. He has a super wide-set stance, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start to have hip problems. Would be a shame, though.

  6. Ray says:

    Interesting note about goalie stats. Traditional stats (save %, GAA) are intrinsically important – they correlate to winning. The more sophisticated stats are not. The argument in favor of the newer stats has to be that they are more reliable and better predict the future. However, the two new stat darlings of 2015-2016, Mason and Lundqvist, both declined significantly in the traditional stat department this year.

    • Justin says:

      Common denominator in those two cases were objectively bad defenses. Don’t get me wrong, Hank does himself no favors with the system he asks his defensemen to play, but constantly compensating for missed coverages can pull apart the rest of your game in a hurry.

      • Ray says:

        People fail because what they are asked to do exceeds their talents. What Ranger defensemen are asked to do with Hank in goal exceeds the talents of nearly every NHL dman. The fact that they fail is on Hank and not them.

        I really think Cam Talbot’s tenure with the Rangers was instructive. Here we had two tenders playing behind the same personnel. Talbot got decidedly better results. Yet you know better than I that it wasn’t that Talbot was playing way over his head. Talbot never really looked as good in net as Hank did. Talbot let goals in that Hank would have stopped. Talbot was the better tender because he had better teammates. And that should be a caution when you try too hard to adjust for teammate quality.

        Now I admit I am biased by my own taste. I prefer watching a Rinne, a Murray, a Talbot – someone who plays the puck effectively – to watching someone like Lundqvist or Holtby who does not. You seem to give a lot more credit for just making good saves. How much of that is your bias and how much is good judgment is not clear.

        Incidentally, it is subjectively bad defenses, not objectively bad. Looking at Raantta, Ranger defense was at least close to average.

        • Justin says:

          You make a good point, Ray in that Hank’s preferences for net front coverage, etc were beyond the talents of his defenders. Without a control sample of Hank using the same system that Talbot, Raanta played, etc., it’s hard to know if Hank’s preference is statistically more beneficial than the default.

          The issue for comparison that I think we often engage on a disconnect is one of sample size. I would argue that game to game talent is de minimus in terms of NHL goaltenders. It is the ability to extrapolate that performance over a meaningful sample that separates the mediocre from the elite.

          The same goes for the statistical significance of playing the puck. A goalie gets a touch where he needs to effectively distribute, what, a handful of times each game? The difference between <5 touches versus 25-35 shots when the average margin of victory is 1-1.5 goals, tells me that the ability to make a save has significantly more value than an ability to effectively distribute puck playing opportunities. Obviously, this doesn't take into account shot quality, but you know what I mean.

          I develop the rankings the majority of the time by traditional scouting methods, rather relying on nascent statistical analysis, which is helpful, but not necessarily determinative for me.

          • Ray says:

            It really isn’t <5 touches a game though. It's more than that. I see three things an active goalie can do. First, he can intimidate. In the old days, you never dumped the puck in on Brodeur. With the rules change, things aren't quite so extreme, but you still don't want Rinne to get his stick on the puck and that means the offense has fewer options and the defense has less to worry about. Standing up at the blue line is more attractive for example.
            Second, the goalie often gets the puck behind the net and passes it to a teammate. The analogy is a football quarterback throwing to a receiver. The poor quarterback throws a pass that the receiver must focus on catching; then he runs. The good QB throws a nice crisp pass and the catch and move upfield are all one motion. A pass from Lundqvist often doesn't lead to a zone exit.
            Finally, there is the aggressive play when the opposition manages to dump the puck on a PK or sustained pressure. The goalie either prevents a line change or catches the opposition in an ill-advised line change. This happens rarely admittedly, but surely adds a couple of goals a year.

            *********

            Always enjoy your stuff, Justin.

            • AWDS says:

              I think the real problem, if we follow along with your analogy, Ray, is you’re blaming the quarterback for not being ‘great’, instead of faulting the receivers who couldn’t catch a beach ball.

              Of course most of the passes Hank makes don’t lead to zone exits – look at who he’s passing to!

              Girardi, Staal, Klein… hell, even Holden…. these defensemen are not associated with ‘fluid passing & puck movement’ for a reason ….

              • Ray says:

                Here’s the thing. You think Lundqvist is great and so it follows that everything he does is great. That’s just wrong. If you judge Hank by the one thing he does best (whatever that is), he may very well be the best tender of all time. If you look at his entire game, he is still a damn good goalie. But that doesn’t mean that he is without weaknesses.

                If you compare Lundqvist and Rinne by any reasonable standards, you will discover that there are some things that each does better than the other. On balance, most people rate Hank higher and that may very well be true. My point is that Hank’s weaknesses lead us to believe that the defense in front of him sucks – and that just isn’t true.

                And the fact that you can’t see that it is his fault that the defense has to stop to catch his passes proves my point.

              • AWDS says:

                Well, I think he, at the very least, was great. Still damned good, as of now.

                I never said, however, that his game was without its problems; If you could show where I said that (ever), I’d love to see it.

                Anyways, my point is, the guys we had the last few years would make even RInne (or hell, Brodeur in his prime) look bad.

                To blame Lundqvist for their clear & well documented inability to move the puck (on either side of the ice) is irrational.

                To even compare the previous set of defensemen to Nashville’s is incredible…. we had maybe half of their talent (and I’m being very kind with my usage of ‘half’)….

  7. pavel_burito says:

    Great article.

    However, how can you say “I am completely ignoring concepts of age”, then start with dinging Smith for being 35?
    Also, Smith is too old at 35, but Varlamov is “way too young at 29”. What the metric for peak vs. declining age? I see this a lot in hockey writing (or maybe it’s all sports).

    But that’s nitpicking, really enjoying these type of breakdowns.

    • Ray says:

      I think Justin meant that he was not considering age long term. For example, would you rather have Matt Murray or Henrik Lundqvist? As a long term question, the answer is clearly Murray. Hank has maybe a couple of good years left while Murray’s career largely lays in front of him. However, Justin’s question is “If the season ends in free agency, who do you want for 2017-2018?” An older tender who has not yet shown real decline can be very attractive.

  8. Bloomer says:

    Why isn’t Leaky on that list? He is on his way to Suckville.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Ridiculous. Talk about a lack of gratitude for a franchise all-timer.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Stunning. Just stunning and I agree also ungrateful for everything the man has done with so little talent in front of him for most of his Rangers tenure–at least relative to the other contenders. He will be a sure fire HOFer, and will have his number retired. And I predict that NO ONE ELSE during his Rangers tenure that was in their prime (not counting Shanahan, Jagr or MSL obviously) will even come close.

      Hank has been our one true star. THE reason why we have even had deep playoff runs. To diss him like that is disgusting and unwarranted.

      • Ray says:

        Come off it. Not to criticize Lundqvist, but being an acclaimed star doesn’t actually prove you are any good. The Knicks could improve their team by trading Carmelo Anthony for either of us (as long as they had enough sense not to put us on the floor for very long). Obviously Hank is a lot better than that and is a top 20 tender (the only issue at the moment).

        But when someone is the one true star on a team, that means it is hard to look good as his teammate. There’s a reason Wayne Gretzky played with so many good players – and that reason is Wayne Gretzky. One guy can only do so much – six guys can do a lot. So it is less about what you do and more about what the other five guys do when you are on the ice. It is about making their life easier so they can be better. And your comment illustrates clearly that Hank has not done that.

        I don’t think we need to be grateful to these well paid players frankly – and surely more is due Girardi who endured far more physical pain. Lundqvist has an Olympic gold (I suspect more important to him than a Cup), lots of money and lots of acclaim. All we owe him IMO is not to go the Garden and boo.

        Feel about him like Mozart or Monet. Just enjoy. If someone else doesn’t appreciate him, that’s just a pleasure you have that they don’t.

        • Spozo says:

          Where has this narrative that Hank doesn’t do enough to make his team mates better come from? He’s a goalie. Maybe we should start criticizing a field goal kicker for not making the rest of his team mates better.

        • AWDS says:

          Ray, again…. with all due respect, no goaltender in the world will (or could) ever make guys like Girardi or Staal seem like talented passers…. nor would better passes from him alleviate their inability to skate or do remotely one tenth of what Nashville’s guys can.

          I don’t know why you would ever hold something like that against him.

          It makes no sense.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Ray, no athlete is immune from criticism. Not even Hank. I have no issue with your approach on your critique. I don’t agree with your analysis, but I concede it is well thought out and not without merit.

          My issue is with so-called RANGER fans no less who denigrate one of the truly great players in fanchise history with childish nonsense like Sievquist and Leaky. Why? Because he was paid an enormous contract that he had earned and would have easily commanded on the open market if he had become a UFA? What choice did the Rangers have at that time? Talbot was still mostly an unknown. There were no other stars out there. The pettiness to me is just ridiculous.

          It would be like calling Mickey Mantle Mickey Mouse at the end of his career, or Donnie Baseball Donnie Strikeout at the end of his. Sorry, those remarks are what are disgraceful IMO, not a fair and reasonable critique of where Hank is at this point in his career, which I agree is a more than fair discussion.

          • Ray says:

            I agree that demeaning Lundqvist is wrong, BUT it is not clear to me that Bloomer and others are doing that. Mickey Mantle got lots of mockery – from Dodger and Giant fans. And goodness knows Fatso is not a term of endearment for perhaps the greatest tender of all time.

            I am inclined to believe that “Leaky” is less a derision of Hank and more an attempt to rile those here who worship Lundqvist to the denigration of all other Rangers.

            It is a rather obvious fact that the most valuable Ranger has long been Ryan McDonagh. If McDonagh is injured, the #2 left D has to move to #1, the #3 to #2, and a bench player to #3. The team loses a lot. OTOH, when Hank has gone down recently, the team hasn’t missed a beat. Disagreeing with this is just as ridiculous insisting Lundqvist can’t play.

            That said, the assertion that Hank is the better hockey player is not without merit. Conservatively, Hank has been among the top fifteen tenders in the NHL every year of his career. He deservedly earned a Vezina and has some near misses. He is really good. [But he plays a position where only good players get to play. And many just like to watch him play.

            But when you give him too much credit for Ranger success, you are going to get pushback. He isn’t carrying the team; he is just doing his part, making the team a little bit better, the same thing that all of the good players do.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Yes….but I guarantee you that few if any Devils fans called Brodeur Fatso. Mantle being mocked by Giants and Dodgers fans was expected. Once he established himself as a true star (actually once Maris came on board), Mickey was beloved. Even at the end when he was a shell of himself, no Yankees fan would mock him the way a small handful of bitter Rangers fans do with Hank. That to me is not being a fan.

              I always base this stuff on a simple premise. What would you be saying if you weren’t hiding in anonymity in the blogosphere? If you had a chance for ONE day to be a panelist on the NHL Network, let’s say, and if you impressed enough, you would be offered a lucrative full time job as an NHL analyst, would you say the same thing? Would you say it if you ACTUALLY were to be held accountable for what you said?

              I suspect Ray that you would. While I dont agree with your take on Hank in many cases, I do feel that you have a well thought out point that you would have no trouble supporting even with the cloak of anonymity removed. I respect that.

              Other than my intentionally toungue and cheek nicknames for the Untouchables (which are merely done as a sarcastic response to the over the top love of players who have been largely underwhelming thus far), there isn’t a thing I have ever posted that I wouldn’t write or say with my real name on it.

              But I wonder how many Hank Haters would go on NHL Network and NHL Network Radio with a chance to land a full time gig and make the case that Hank should be known as Leaky or Sievequist? They’d be laughed off the air.

              Debate whether he’s in decline or not? More than fair. Is he still (or was he ever) the most valuable Ranger the last decade? Also fair. But there is no reason to denigrate a future HOFer and a legendary Ranger.

              As for your McDonagh vs Hank point, it is an interesting premise that you raise. I would simply say this. When we look at the body of Hank’s work over the course of his whole career, and then compare that to McDonagh’s, it’s not even close. Hank is one of the greatest to ever play his position. He will be in the HOF. He will have his number retired. All that will be most deserved. McDonagh is none of these things and will likely be none of those things. He’s an excellent player for sure, but not in the same category as Hank.

              Bill Parcells said it best…your are what your record says you are. And Hank’s record speaks volumes.

  9. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    As for the list, I would put Rinne and Anderson at the top of the 20-31 list, not the bottom. The rest I have no issue with.

    • Bloomer says:

      Hockey is played in the present eddie not in the past. In the here and now based on his current play…Leaky shouldnt rank any higher than 20 in NHL goalies.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        Wow, one season where Lundqvist doesn’t deserve to be in the top 10 goalies regular-season wise, but still managed to beat “world’s best goalie” Carey Price in the playoffs—and now Hank is the 20th best goalie in the NHL?

        Hank is still top 5 in the world and once he’s playing behind a defense that doesn’t have 4 bums in it he will prove that.

        Your nickname for Hank is immature and unfunny, in addition to being untrue.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Great point…and Hank was, as he usually is, the overwhelming reason we even won a round. But of course that’s all forgotten because the “Bitter Boys” (that will be the Hank Haters new nickname) for some reason just cant deal with the fact that Hank was paid what he was worth when he was approaching UFA status back in 2013-14. Or maybe in Bitter Bloomer’s case, it’s because Hank reportedly was instrumental in getting his beloved and overrated Coach Torts out of NY. I guess BB will have to answer that one himself. 🙂

          If we want to assign nicknames to truly overrated Rangers players, I have a few that are far more deserving–

          Kevin Haze (as in all too often playing in one)

          JT Miller Lite (as in a product that isn’t nearly as good as it is hyped up to be. He’s got a third less production than most top wingers, and most of all he doesn’t play great.)

          Chris Cry-der (as in his inconsistencies make his coaches want to weep at times, thinking about what he COULD be)

          I’m not a big fan of tearing guys down, but if I was I’d target overrated players who will be long forgotten when the next generation of Rangers come on board. Legends who put a franchise on their back time and time again do not.

          • Mancunian Candidate says:

            I’m not big on Miller’s recent disappearing act in the playoffs, but I don’t think these nicknames help anybody, hahaha! You hammer these 3 guys a lot, but I’m more positive about their overall games. I’d also say Kreider in particular has justified his place as a memorable Ranger–some players are streaky and you have to take the bad with the good. Hayes is frustrating too but I think he did as well as he could last year, given the odd 2nd half of the season choice by AV to use him as a defensive center.

            I can only hate 1 player per season, not sure why–and for me it’s Nick Holden. Can’t wait til that guy hits the bricks. I’ll tell you who I don’t hate though–that iconic, hypercompetitive netminder named Henrik Lundqvist.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I actually agree with you. I was being more tongue in cheek about this to make a point.

              Being a “memorable” Ranger is a relative term. Don Murdoch, Don Maloney and Ron Duguay were “memorable” too. But they were overhyped and weren’t truly great players. Same with our current trio. Good to very good? No doubt. But as of yet not great. If the Rangers are ever going to have a chance to win anything, at least one or two of our guys have to be more than just good. Championship teams have great players.

          • Ray says:

            Ridiculous insults are meaningless; insults with a germ of truth are cruel.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Going into last year, NHL Network had him among the top 50 players in the league (actually I think it was top 30), That’s ALL players by the way. Going into this year, he’s ranked among the 10 goalies.

        I realize those lists are highly subjective, but I suspect that if you were to poll every coach, every GM, every goalie coach, every scout, and then on top of that, ask the fans, ask the press, you would find that the overwhelming majority of all these groups do not see him as a bottom tier goaltender in this league. The tiny handful of Hank Haters would largely be on an island of bitterness all your own.

        Can’t a guy have one sub-standard season before he’s treated like something the cat dragged in? Again, most true fans have a little more respect for their stars and what they’ve accomplished than you and others do.

        Maybe deep down you are actually an Islanders or Devils fan. 🙂

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          Eddie, Bloomer defended Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Nick Holden on the reg. He also seems to believe that defensemen need to be old, indecisive, and slow. There’ve been many comments he’s made about young dmen and how their “inexperience” makes them lesser players than veterans, despite horrific results from the veteran defensemen. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can’t appreciate one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Just to be fair and consistent, Bloomer and I actually agree more or less on the defense. I’m not saying our defense was great the last two seasons. Far from it. But Girardi and Staal had their good moments this past year. Holden was the leading goal scorer on defense. It wasn’t all awful.

            My position has been that the defense was among the best hockey in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and is now more mid-range the last two seasons. I understand what the fancy stats folks say but I’m sorry, you cant have three straight 100+ point seasons if the defense is horrible.

            My other position was and remains that you have to play the guys you trust…who give you the best chance to win. The Rangers IMO did not have better options. McIlrath and Clendening were not better options, and the league has weighed in pretty clearly on that. Girardi got a high end deal on day one of FA by one of the most respected organizations in the league. McIlrath had to accept a two way contract after being waived twice and going unclaimed both times. Pretty much screams borderline AHL/NHL player, not a guy who can help a contending team. Clendening signed yet another low salary deal typical of the 7D that he is at the moment.

            In theory anyway, the Rangers will have more options this year on defense. Will any of them be ready to truly unseat Staal and Holden? That’s the question.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              In my opinion the Rangers’ D badly needs an increase in their overall level of athleticism. Speed, quickness, decisiveness–all were sorely lacking in guys not named Skjei or McDonagh. I’d be more than willing to live with DeAngelo’s lapses in coverage to see an active, skating, occasionally physical presence from him–instead of seeing the positionally weak Holden playing out of position on the right side. Same goes for Bereglazov–if he can skate well and consistently make a good first pass out of the zone, he’s already better than Holden or Staal.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I’m with you……IF they are actually ready and prove they are better than Staal or Holden.

  10. wwpd says:

    unexpected Beezer. nice, my dude.

  11. King Sieveqvist! King Sieveqvist! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    miss me ? lmao

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Not really. I thought you simply returned to the Islanders or Devils blogs where I presumed you came from!