Every week I am going to post a Top 10 list of some sort. This week it is the NHL’s top 10 goalies.
Martin Brodeur – It is hard to argue against this guy. He’s accomplished pretty much everything in his career and at age 33 he still has a lot of hockey ahead of him. He has led New Jersey to 3 Stanley Cups, and Team Canada to Olympic gold and finally got his Vezina trophy in the last NHL season. Brodeur is simply the best.
Roberto Luongo – Luongo is setting himself to be the next great NHL goalie. In 2003-04 he played 72 games on a Florida team with a weak defense and as a result faced more rubber than any other goalie. But he excelled posting a 2.43 goals against average and an outstanding .931 save percentage. This year is no different as he has already posted 2 shutouts.
Marty Turco – Although 2003-04 was a bit of an off year (first half anyway) for Turco it was still a very good year. His career goals against average of just 1.93 is simply amazing and his career save percentage of .921 is not too shabby either. So long as Dallas has Turco they have a chance to win any game.
Jose Theodore – Former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, Theodore has established himself as one of the better goalies in the league despite playing on some mediocre teams. Although he has been very good since his 2001-02 MVP year, he has yet to repeat that elite level of success and that stops him from being higher on this list.
Andrew Raycroft – This is just his second full NHL season but as a rookie he established himself as a goalie who deserves to be on this list winning the Calder trophy and posting a very respectable 2.05 goals against average and an equally excellent .926 save percentage. Boston’s goaltending is in solid hands with Raycroft.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere – I thought Giguere might be one of those goalies who might suffer with the new, smaller equipment but so far he has adjusted well. When Giguere is on his game he can be as good as anyone as witnessed by Anaheim’s playoff run in 2002-03.
Tomas Vokoun – Doesn’t have the name recognition of the others in this list but that is mostly because he plays in Nashville. Vokoun is a workhorse having played in 69 and 73 games the past 2 seasons and although his goals against average and saver percentages weren’t outstanding, they were very good on a sub-par team and in the playoffs he nearly led the Predators to a series win over the Red Wings. This year could be the year he really establishes himself now that the Predators look to have a pretty good team.
Nikolai Khabibulin – Khabibulin has the talent and ability to be one of the top 3 goalies in the NHL but for some reason he just can’t be that guy consistently. His 2003-04 season is perfect evidence of that. During the regular season he struggled for stretches and at times all but lost his #1 role to backup John Grahame, but in the playoffs he was awesome and was a significant part of Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup win. He has struggled so far in Chicago as well.
Miikka Kipprusoff – I am not convinced Kipprusoff deserves to be on this list considering he has only been a starter for half a season. But that half season was nothing short of outstanding which he followed up with an outstanding playoff run. But so far this year he has struggled, and needs to come back and prove that 2003-04 wasn’t an aberration. If he can do that then he deserves to be higher on this list.
Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek – I struggled with where to put these two old guys on the list because we don’t yet know how much they have left in them so I’ll put them together at #10. There isn’t much to say about either goalies careers. They have both been great, both winning Stanley Cups and Vezinas.
Honorable Mention: Dwayne Roloson, Evgeni Nabokov, Olaf Kolzig