I’ve been an goaltender my entire life and I’m somewhat addicted to studying the art, progression and change of styles over the years of professional goalies. It’s what I do. If you agree or disagree with some or all of these rankings? Please let us know so we can discuss.
Let’s take a look at the top 35 current NHL goaltenders.
1) Henrik Lundqvist
There’s no doubt who the top dog is in the NHL today and that is, of course, King Henrik. The 31 year old goalie from Sweden is a lock for 65+ games per season and always boasts terrific numbers. He’s basically a shoe in for a Vezina nomination each and every year. Henrik is the only goaltender in NHL history to win 30 games in each of his first seven season and is currently the all-time leader in shutouts in the regular season and playoffs combined in NYR history. Lundqvist won the Vezina trophy in 2012 and was nominated in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Henrik received a nomination for the Hart trophy as the league’s mVP in 2012 and the Ted Lindsay award in 2012.
2) Jonathan Quick
Quick has already won a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in the 2011/2012 season and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy while he was at it. Jonathan has this incredible style of completely taking away the bottom half of the net with his lightning fast legs and crease movement along with having incredibly fast reflexes with his glove and blocker. Quick was the third goaltender on team USA’s Olympic team but he’s pretty much a shoe in for the starter for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi. Jonathan had back surgery in 2012 and while being a bit off when he came back to the NHL from the AHL he quickly regained his form heading into the 2012/2013 NHL playoffs where he and the Kings fell short to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Quick was quite the steal being selected 72nd overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft.
3) Carey Price
Carey Price is a young goaltender with tremendous potential and has already solidified himself among the NHL’s elite. Price was selected 5th overall in the first round of the 2005 NHL entry draft and has so far proven that was not a mistake by the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price has shown he can battle back after a struggle and proved just that after losing his starting job to then back up, Jaroslav Halak in 2009/2010. Halak was then dealt to the St. Louis Blues as Montreal knew what type of goalie they had in Price. Carey has been known to be somewhat injury prone throughout his short career and one of those injuries just so happened to be a concussion. His stellar play with an above average Canadiens team the over the last 5 years just goes to show you how good this guy really is. His mobility in the crease and composure is among the elite in the NHL today.
4) Corey Crawford
I’m sure there will be some slack received on this but Corey Crawford has proven he can play in big games, not panic under pressure, ability to rebound after a poor performance and most importantly…win. Crawford now sports a Stanley Cup ring on his finger and shares the William Jennings Trophy with former Blackhawk, Ray Emery. Crawford has excellent mobility from side to side in his crease, takes away the bottom half of the net with his flawless butterfly style and has a lightning fast glove hand. Yes, lightning fast glove. Much was made by the media about a poor glove hand on Crawford because of one “off” game in the Stanley Cup Final vs the Boston Bruins. We all know that’s what media does though, they like to pick on something and most people feed off of that and make it a topic of conversation that is not true. Blackhawks fans who have watched Crawford throughout his career have seen an excellent glove side throughout. Media do not like to be proven wrong but Corey Crawford has done that to them and all of the naysayers. Expect Crawford to have a legit chance to start for Team Canada in the 2014 Sochi Olympics and will battle that out with Roberto Luongo and Carey Price.
5) Pekka Rinne
Many will say “well Pekka has been on a defensive team his entire career”. True, however, Rinne has proven time and time again that he can make huge saves when the team needs them and the Predators may be a defensive team they have not always been a good team. Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina in 2011 and 2012 but yet to win it. Pekka has a career .920 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. Combine a massive 6’5″ frame and lightning fast reflexes and you get an elite goaltender in Rinne. Nashville is set for years in goal with this stud.
6) Antti Niemi
Antti Niemi is similar to how Corey Crawford was/is perceived. Media had little confidence in either goalie but both have proven they can be winners and both have a Stanley Cup ring to wave in front of non believers faces. Niemi is probably the most unorthodox goalie in the NHL at this time and I personally compared him to a style of the great Dominik Hasek but at this time I’d compare him to a style of Tim Thomas, a pure battlefly goaltender. Niemi is very good in the shootout as well and was awarded the THN best shootout goalie along with a Vezina nomination in 2013. Funny how Chicago has never been known to be a hockey hotbed for goaltenders yet they have had 2 Stanley Cup winning goalies in the last 4 years and Crawford and Niemi have risen to the top.
7) Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask had admirably taken over for Tim Thomas in goal for the Boston Bruins. Rask was on top of his game in 2013 helping the Bruins get to the Stanley Cup Finals only to bow down to the Chicago Blackhawks. Although Rask was outplayed by counterpart Corey Crawford, he stood on his head at times with the onslaught of Chicago’s offense. Rask keeps calm in goal and is always in position and square to the puck. Much alike Rinne, he takes away the bottom of the net perfectly and has extremely fast reflexes. There still is some question on Rask as he has only had one season as a starting goaltender and it was a half season at that. Bruins feel he has the potential to be great and awarded him with a whopping 7 million per year contract through 2020.
Roberto Luongo is one of the more interesting goalies in the NHL. Years ago he was deemed the best goalie in the NHL but since his arrival in Vancouver he has had his ups and downs. He’s helped the Canucks achieve a President’s Trophy and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals where he and the Canucks fell short to the Boston Bruins but in Luongo’s defense, he was brilliant in those particular playoffs. The Canucks struggled to get by nemesis rivals the Chicago Blackhawks but were able to defeat them and get the monkey off his/their back on route to the Cup final in 2010/2011. Luongo has a career 2.52 goals against average and a solid .919 save percentage. Luongo also has a lot of International play and has won awards such as the World Junior best goalie and an All-Star in that same tournament in 1999, IIHF gold medalist in 2003 and 2004, World Cup gold medal in 2004 and his most impressive backstopping Canada to a Gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Luongo is a four time all-star and shares a William Jennings Trophy in 2011 with ex-Canuck Cory Schneider. Luongo is also a butterfly specialist and when on top of his game is next to unbeatable. Expect Luongo to thrive as the clear cut #1 goalie in Vancouver in 2013 and at this point the favorite to be the #1 goalie for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
9) Jimmy Howard
Jimmy Howard has had a very similar career as Corey Crawford’s. Spent their time in the AHL and finally were able to get a crack in the NHL and eventually became the starting goaltender for their respective teams. Like Crawford, Howard has had his doubters heavily criticising him but has since become a very reliable goalie who has the ability to steal games for his team and mentally very tough. Howard stole the back up job to one time Red Wing Chris Osgood from Ty Conklin and since Osgood’s retirement Jimmy has taken the reigns over. Jimmy Howard has a very respectable NHL lifetime Goals against average of 2.29 and a solid .920 save percentage.
10) Craig Anderson
It seems all it took for Craig Anderson to excel in the NHL was to get out of Colorado and into an Ottawa Senators uniform. Desperate for a goalie at the time Andy came over in a deal with the Avs, the Sens have had nothing but solid goaltending and with Robin Lehner waiting in the wings to be the inevitable starter for Ottawa in the near future, the Sens are set in goal for a very long time. Craig Anderson is another example of a great American born goalie who has cracked the top 10 for best NHL goalies. Anderson’s lifetime NHL statistics are a 2.71 Goals against average and a .915 save percentage. Expect those numbers to get even better.
11) Sergei Bobrovsky
12) Jonas Hiller
13) Cory Schneider
14) Mike Smith
15) Ryan Miller
16) Cam Ward
17) Niklas Backstrom
18) Ondrej Pavelec
19) Martin Brodeur
20) Jaroslav Halak
21) Braden Holtby
22) Ray Emery
23) Marc-Andre Fleury
24) Semyon Varlamov
25) Viktor Fasth
26) James Reimer
27) Brian Elliott
28) Kari Lehtonen
29) Ben Bishop
30) Jonathan Bernier
31) Tomas Vokoun
32) Devan Dubnyk
33) Evgeni Nabokov
34) Jacob Markstrom
35) Steve Mason
Here are what some Twitter people have to say with their top 5 goaltenders and many thanks to those who took the time to enter their selections.
@CoreyRanes has Crawford, Quick, Lundqvist, Howard and Anderson.
@1TaniaSilva has Crawford, Lundqvist, Grinch?, Brodeur and Anderson.
@atbrus has Lundqvist, Crawford, Rask, Quick and Smith.
@2mins4tweeting has Brodeur, Lundqvist, Quick, Crawford and Rinne.
@NicKKrapf has Lundqvist, Quick, Rask, Rinne and Crawford
@marcm321 has Quick, Lundqvist, Rinne, Miller and Rask.
@jmckelvie has Lundqvist, Miller, Ward, Rinne and Quick.
@TheChicagoFan has Quick, Lundqvist, Bobrovsky, Rask and Crawford.
@NJDPrime has Quick, Rinne, Howard, Lundqvist and Schneider.
@GirouxtoTango has Rask, Crawford, Quick, Rinne and Howard.
@CayseePatrick has Lundqvist, Quick, Niemi, Rinner and Rask.
@Fireball6449 has Brodeur, Quick, Halak, Crawford and Rask.
@PrazMaster has Lundqvist, Quick, Rinne, Fleury and Crawford
Click on the user names and give these hockey nuts a follow!
Thanks to Zimbio for the photos and most importantly thanks to all of your for taking the time to take a look at these ranking.