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.

Enjoy!

 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.

8) Roberto Luongo

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.

@GoodLuckGriff has Crawford, Howard, Rask, Rinner and me @TK0N LOL. Thanks, Griff.

@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.

TK0N

 


 

 

 

 

Since TSN, Sportsnet and many other media types seem to be putting out their predictions on the rosters for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi for Team Canada. We little folk over at Crash the Net felt like we should do our own considering we disagree with most prognosticators out there, in some areas.

 

Please take a look at what we’ve put together for not just one Team Canada but two teams just for bits and giggles.

 

Please feel free to comment.

 

FORWARDS Team 1

 

James Neal -Sidney Crosby-Steven Stamkos

Rick Nash-Jonathan Toews – Eric Staal

Claude Giroux –Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry

Patrick Sharp-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Eberle

John Tavares

For these forward lines you have a nice mix of offensive players and a 2-way player on each line. Perhaps a little less on Crosby’s line and you could flip flop Eric Staal with James Neal on the wing. Needless to say there are centers that will need to play on the wing due to the overabundance of talent down the middle.

DEFENCE Team 1

 

Duncan Keith-Drew Doughty

Kris Letang-Shea Weber

Brent Seabrook-Alex Pietrangelo

Marc Staal

Now that Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are split up, there’s no doubt who the best D tandem in the NHL is and that is, once again, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. However, we all remember how good Keith and Doughty were in the last Olympics so it wouldn’t hurt to start them out together. If Doughty has not improved his play by that time, there would be little hesitation moving Seabrook up with Keith.

GOALTENDERS Team 1

 

Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Cam Ward,

As much hate as there is out there for Roberto Luongo, there is no doubt what he brings to the table plus he is a past Olympic gold champion. He’s arguably playing better than he ever has in his career right now and if he keeps it up there should be no doubt who is the starter for Team Canada.

Now here is a look at who would be Team Canada’s second unit from Crash The Net’s point of view. Obviously, several of these players could make a push for Team 1.

FORWARDS Team 2

 

Jamie Benn- Joe Thornton – Patrick Marleau

Jeff Skinner – Mike Richards – Tyler Seguin

Logan Couture – Vincent Lecavalier – Martin St. Louis

Jarome Iginla – Brad Richards- Jordan Staal

Taylor Hall

Again, nice spreading out of offensive and 2-way players on each line with the possible exception of the Lecavalier line but there are options with these lineups where you can interchange some players.

Other notable forwards: Milan Lucic, Matt Duchene. Jason Pominville, Scott Hartnell, Dan Briere, , Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane

 

DEFENCE Team 2

 

Michael Del Zotto – Dion Phaneuf

Justin Schultz – Tyler Myers

P.K. Subban – Brent Burns

Daniel Girardi

Other defencemen notables: Dan Hamhuis, Dan Boyle, Brayden Coburn, Kevin Bieksa,

Very young D corps here plus the future of Team Canada’s Olympic defencemen. How fun would it be to watch this group play together?

GOALTENDERS Team 2

Marc- Andre Fleury- Martin Brodeur –Corey Crawford

 

Other goaltender notables Mike Smith, Brian Elliott

The goaltending in the NHL is American/European heavy for elite goalies but there are some top notch ones left. Many will argue Fleury could start for team 1 but let us not forget about cagey veteran Martin Brodeur who is still playing at an extremely high level and just coming off a Stanley Cup final appearance with New Jersey. Brodeur just played his 1200th NHL game the other night.

Are you in full agreement with these two teams? Would you like to see some changes? Please discuss and let us know.

Hat tip to Zimbio.com for the photos

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

 

 

Earlier this afternoon, Aaron Portzline, a reputable reporter for the Columbus Blue Jackets tweeted the following:

 


Now, if it were any of the make believe “sources” a.k.a “Donkey’s” such as the comical @HockeyyInsiderr or @NHLSourcesSay twitter accounts, then one would kibosh this notion of Roberto Luongo to the Chicago Blackhawks immediately. But no, this was reported by Portzline who is a well-respected media personality throughout the league.

 

This rumour could be long gone by now and as Aaron mentioned in his tweet he noted he doesn’t know where it stands now.

 

Could it be true? Roberto Luongo playing for his nemesis rivals the Chicago Blackhawks? One could guess that anything can happen but still seems unlikely to happen.

 

If it were to happen, who would Vancouver want from Chicago? An obvious choice would be highly regarded Andrew Shaw and/or possibly one of the Hawks’ 2012 draft picks this year. If the Hawk’s just took Luongo for draft picks alone that would leave Chicago with roughly two million of cap space left so one would think salary is going the other way.

 

Also, an interesting question is how would the dedicated Blackhawks fans handle Luongo sporting their beloved Indian head sweater? Some fans apparently hated Luongo but from what I’ve noticed most just enjoyed making fun of Roberto. He’s not exactly a “hateable” type of character compared to some other current team mates of his. No, I’m not making an excuse to like Luongo if he eventually lands in the great city of Chicago.

 

Would Bobby Lou improve the Hawks’ goaltending?

 

If one were to look at last season, anyone but Steve Mason would have improved Chicago’s goalie issues last year, but to be fair, the team defence was horrific so it probably would have made only a marginal improvement. Chicago still managed to finish with a very respectable 101 points on the season even with all of their defensive issues and playing in arguably the NHL’s toughest division.

 

Personally I don’t see a need to add Luongo and end up losing any spectacular young players. I believe Corey Crawford deserves another shot at proving himself after his first year as a starter did not go so well. If he can regain what he had in his rookie season where there were very few goaltenders that were better, then, all is good in Chicago.

 

The cap hit would be painful considering he is signed until the year 2021 and if the Hawks’ were to be underachievers anytime from now until then, Luongo would surely be taking a ton of heat like poor Brian Campbell did. Chicago can afford him but is it a route that the management wants to take?

 

Chicago hasn’t had a solid number one goaltender since Ed Belfour so one can understand the thinking of the Hawks’ brass that they would dearly love to have one after all of these years. However, the Blackhawks proved in 2010 that you can win without a superstar goaltender but Jonathan Quick proved this year that it’s much easier if you do have one.

 

What if Vancouver would accept a deal that sent Crawford and a 2nd round pick in 2013 (supposed to be a deep draft) for Luongo’s services? Would Hawk’s fans like that? Who knows, for now, if I’m Chicago, I stand pat with Crawford but keep their eyes open for a better back-up goalie than Ray Emery and find a goalie that can actually push Corey for the starter’s job.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

TK0N


 

As the NHL playoffs kick off a week from now, many questions still exist.

Along with which teams will secure the final playoff spots in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, fans in British Columbia and elsewhere that follow the Vancouver Canucks are left wondering who their best bet between the pipes is this post-season.

Should they go with the battle-tested Roberto Luongo in net when the playoffs kick off in Vancouver with either the first or second seed in the Western Conference, or should Cory Schneider get the call in goal?

As Tuesday evening’s 5-4 shootout win over visiting Anaheim showed, Vancouver fans are not hesitant to let Luongo know when they’re unhappy with him.

After allowing his fourth goal of the evening, Luongo got the hook and enter Schneider.

Not only did Schneider not allow any goals the remainder of the way (not counting the shootout), but the Canucks seemed to have an extra step in their play after number 35 took the ice. In all, Schneider tallied nine shots in nearly 28 minutes of play, while Luongo recorded 11 saves in nearly 23 minutes of action. Schneider got his 20th win of the season, while the Canucks recorded their 50th as a team.

Watching the Canucks on the tube on a regular basis, I can say on this night that while Luongo was not sharp, his defense did nothing to save him from an early exit. On several of the goals, Vancouver’s ‘D’ looked like it was already thinking ahead to which team the Canucks would match up with in the playoffs.

Speaking of the playoffs, during the team’s excruciating loss in seven games to Boston for the Stanley Cup last spring, many in Vancouver and probably much of the hockey world likely felt that the Canucks would need to sink or swim with Luongo in goal. Schneider was not really seen as being experienced enough to go in net in such an important playoff series.

This year, however, I think the idea of Schneider in goal for the Canucks will not elevate the heart rates of fans, coaches and players in western Canada, at least not in a negative way.

To date, Luongo has started double the games that Schneider has this season, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. That being said, Schneider but for a few appearances, has looked nothing short of brimming with confidence in the games he’s seen action in.

Some teams successfully employ the two-headed goalie monster and others do not.

As a lifelong Habs fan, I was quite disheartened when Montreal let Jaroslav Halak slip away after he basically carried the once-proud franchise through two rounds of the 2010 playoffs. The bottom line was that Montreal did not see a future with both Halak and Carey Price in goal.

Ironically, flash forward two seasons later to St. Louis, where Halak and Brian Elliott have the Blues poised to complete one of the best seasons in franchise history.

No matter which decision the Canucks make a week from now when the playoffs kick off, fans should have faith knowing that the team has a pair of answers between the pipes.

Well, that is until Luongo possibly lets in a few goals and the chirping begins all around British Columbia and elsewhere in Canuck Nation.

 

Dave Thomas, who covers among other topics how to start a small business, writes extensively for San Diego-based Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses. He is also a freelance sportswriter in his spare time.

 

Chicago Blackhawks vs Vancouver Canucks

There is no surprise what is forthcoming when these two teams meet up as the rivalry between the two is quite a heated one to say the least. It seems that the rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins is slightly more hostile compared to the Chicago rivalry simply because of the heartbreaking loss the Canucks had last year in 7 games in the Stanley Cup final.

The hatred, however, will be renewed once the puck drops Tuesday evening in Vancouver and it’s a guarantee it will be yet another intense game filled with drama. The hatred is one of respect between the two clubs if players, management, media or even fans for that matter like to admit it or not, respect of the skill on both sides, of course.

While the Blackhawks dominate in all time statistics as seen later in the blog, the times have certainly changed. Vancouver narrowly defeated a Chicago team last year in the playoffs in a 7 games series but looking at this year’s comparison one would have to give an edge to Vancouver statistically as the Canucks are near the top of the league in almost every statistical category.

Most people do know that you can pretty much throw statistics out the window when these two clubs meet because the intensity is raised to a brand new level and is quite close to a playoff atmosphere.

Blackhawks fans are waiting impatiently to hear if injured superstar Jonathan Toews and sniper Patrick Sharp will be returning to the line-up for Tuesday night’s clash. Expect Corey Crawford to start in goal for Chicago and newcomer Brendan Morrison to start on the second line centering Marian Hossa and more than likely rookie Andrew Shaw unless Sharp is ready to go. Morrison, 36, was acquired via a trade with the Calgary Flames over the All-Star weekend and had his best years with the Vancouver Canucks. Cory Schneider will be starting for Vancouver.

Here are some all-time statistics and notes on the Chicago Blackhawks vs the Vancouver Canucks.

Game will be played at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia

Current records:

Vancouver              49 GP 30W-15L-4OT for 64pts 158GF 122 GA

Chicago                  50 GP 29W-15L-6OT for 64pts 162GF 144 GA

All-Time head to head for Chicago vs. Vancouver

  • 169 Games played
  • 78Wins
  • 64 Losses
  • 22  Ties
  • 5 OTL
  • 538 Goals For
  • 458 Goals Against
  • 3.18 GF/G
  • 2.71 GA/G

Chicago Leading Scorers

  • Marian Hossa 53
  • Jonathan Toews 50
  • Patrick Kane 41
  • Patrick Sharp 40
  • Viktor Stalberg 29

 

Vancouver Leading Scorers

  • Henrik Sedin 52
  • Daniel Sedin 51
  • Alexander Edler 34
  • Ryan Kesler 33
  • Alexandre Burrows 32

Chicago News and Notes:

  • Just came off 2 losses to the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-2 & 3-1 respectively
  • Hawks are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games
  • Hawks are tied of 2nd in the NHL with 162 goals scored
  • Hawks are 22nd in the NHL with 144 goals against
  • +18 goal differential on the year ranked 9th in the NHL
  • Tied for 8th  overall on the Power Play scoring at a 19.0 %
  • Ranked 28th overall on the Penalty Kill defending at a 77.9%
  • Corey Crawford is 18-12-4 with a 2.86 GAA and a .902 sv%
  • Ray Emery is 11-3-2 with a 2.57 GAA and a .907 sv%

 

Vancouver News and Notes:

  • Vancouver is coming off a 3-2 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers
  • Vancouver is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games
  • Vancouver is 5th  in the NHL with 158 goals scored
  • Vancouver is 7th  in the NHL with 122 goals against
  • +36 goal differential on the year to rank 3rd  in the NHL
  • Ranked 1st  overall on the Power Play scoring at a 23.0%
  • Ranked 6th  overall on the Penalty Kill defending at a 85.4%
  • Roberto Luongo is 20-10-4 with a 2.39GAA and a .918 sv%
  • Cory Schneider is 10-5-0 with a 2.30 GAA and a .927 sv%

Enjoy the game as it will be a great one.

TK

Thanks to Zimbio.com for the use of the photo.

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