Archive for Goaltending

Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Last night, the Rangers fell in a shootout to the division rival NJ Devils, a game in which they were severely outplayed.  These things happen over the course of an 82-game season, chock it up to a bad performance and move on.  Unfortunately, this game was just another in a string of games that begins to show a developing pattern.  The macro is that the Rangers are surviving, if not thriving at the moment, in the face of all of current analytics than tend to predict success.

The micro is that Henrik Lundqvist is facing a massively heavy workload and is a huge reason why the Rangers are back in the playoff picture.

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Categories : Goaltending
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Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

So far this season, Henrik Lundqvist has received the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers.  Hank had played remarkably well considering the Rangers are currently dead last in the league in xGA/60 and 27th in the league in CF% (all stats per Corsica.hockey).  Alain Vigneault has leaned on Lundqvist heavily as the Blueshirts have tried to rebound from their putrid start to try to gain solid footing in the division race.  This adjustment has forced Ondrej Pavelec into a much lesser role than the organization originally intended, as they had hoped he would be a ~25 game backup.  So far, he has started only five games.

When the signing was originally announced, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Spoiled by four consecutive years of high-quality backup performances by Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, I didn’t see the same level of success coming from Pavelec.  After all, Talbot and Raanta were both younger goaltenders hoping to take the next step in their development and be in a position to start.  With Pavelec, that ship had already sailed and he was looking to retain a roster spot in the NHL.  At 30, his style was what it was and had no real reason to make meaningful adjustments.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
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Nov
03

Let’s talk about Hank

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NY Post

Things rarely happen in a vacuum.  Events, arcs and narratives have context.  A light switch doesn’t flip.  Change is mostly gradual.  Over the years, Henrik Lundqvist’s career has been, by and large, an upward trajectory.  He emerged on the scene in 2005 in the midst of a waste land of early 2000’s indulgence.  He represented a young, homegrown core player and quickly became a fan favorite.  It was only up from there.

He quickly went from young talent to superstar.  As a ridiculously handsome human being, his off-ice exposure went through the roof and he represented hope for the franchise for the first time in a decade.

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Categories : Goaltending
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Oct
27

A bit about the goalies

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Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately.  I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.  So, this post is about the goalies now. This is really more Hank focused than Pavelec, but I wanted to touch on him, as well.  I hope you enjoy.

First up, Ondrej Pavelec, who is exactly who I thought he would be.  Obviously, he has underperformed in a very limited sample size so far, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. There was a play last night that really stood out for me.  In the third period, the ‘Yotes made a nifty little passing play that ended with Derek Stepan narrowly missing an open net to Pavelec’s glove side.  Pavelec tracked the first pass, but then, the second pass back door caught him flat footed and he kind of flailed from about 4 feet away from the puck.  Hank may not have gotten to the pass, but his body connection and puck tracking would have stayed engaged for the entire play.  Pavelec knew he was beat and gave up.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
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You got nothin’ on the Beeze

Well, here we are.  The Top 10.  We have covered my 31-11 ranked goaltenders over the past couple of weeks, but this is the main event.  If you missed either of those entries, including all of our criteria and other housekeeping issues, feel free to check them out here and here.  Now, I know we will all be in unanimous agreement that these rankings are wise and accurate, but in the unlikely event that there is the occasional disagreement, feel free to make your voice heard down in the comments section.

I present to you, the Top 10… Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (35)

Still cooler than any of us

Welcome to the second installment of this year’s Top 31 goaltenders.  I covered all of the introductory/methodology/housekeeping issues during the first portion of the list, which you can find here to bring yourself up to speed.  Otherwise, we are going to jump right in.  Here goes, goaltenders 20-11… Read More→

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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.  Read More→

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Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Rangers dealt Antti Raanta to Arizona in the Derek Stepan deal, a quick survey of the market revealed plenty of useful options to serve as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.  There was a decent mix of higher upside projects and relatively safe veteran choices.  When it came out that Benoit Allaire had zeroed in on Ondrej Pavelec for the role, many were surprised, myself included.

The 29 year-old Czech native (30 when the season starts) was a 2nd round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2005.  He had shown tremendous promise in the notoriously offensive environment of the QMJHL before getting his first cup of coffee the year after he was drafted.

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (32)
Jun
30

Replacing Antti Raanta

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(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Since last week when I talked about trading Antti Raanta, he has since, in fact, been traded.  The crew here has covered the return in-depth, so now we need to talk about replacing him.  I’ve spoken at length about Benoit Allaire’s seemingly superhuman ability to help young goaltenders develop into capable NHL starters, but given the current goaltending market, we don’t need Allaire to work miracles.  After perusing the readily available goaltenders who will be looking for jobs on July 1, I thought we could breakdown some of my preferred candidates…

Obviously, the Rangers could swing a trade, a la Antti Raanta, but for our purposes we are just going to look at pending UFA’s that will be available on July 1.

Steve Mason- Philadelphia Flyers

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (27)