Well this season has been quite chaotic with all the new adjustments to the rules and the realignment caused by the CBA made last year during the lockout period. Overlooking this however shows you the differences in the way certain teams and players have played. You see new up and coming star forwards, some new stellar defenseman, some new coaches and general managers but one position most people forget about is the goaltending on a team. I’d like to rank the rookie goalies who entered the league this year and played great.
8.) Jeff Zatkoff Pittsburgh Penguins. In 9 games so far this season he is going 7-2 with a 2.52 GAA (goals against average) and a .910 save percentage. He currently has one shutout in this nine games. Overall Zatkoff isn’t really a goalie with much potential because he’s well past the general rookie’s age being 27 and was drafted by the Kings 74th overall in 2006. It looks like Zatkoff will provide quality backup goaltending for the Pens in the future.
7.) Marek Mazanec Nashville Predators. In 23 games in this season currently Mazanec has an 8-9-3 record with a 2.84 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Marek also posted two shutouts. These numbers aren’t particularly amazing but for a 22-year-old it’s pretty good. Mazanec will likely serve as Pekka Rinne’s backup when he returns to their lineup.
6.) Antti Raanta Chicago Blackhawks. The undrafted 24-year-old has played very well this season for the Blackhawks. In 16 games he has a record of 11-1-3 including a 2.27 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Raanta will be a very valuable backup to Corey Crawford in the future and maybe even become the starter eventually.
5.) Frederik Andersen Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks had shown the NHL last year their immense goaltending depth with the emergence of Viktor Fasth and solid play from Jonas Hiller but this year the Ducks have yet another up and coming goaltender in Frederik Andersen. A 3rd round draft pick in 2012, Andersen has participated in 12 games so far and is going 10-2 on a very successful Ducks team this season. He has a 2.07 GAA and a .923 save percentage this season. The outstanding play from all 3 goalies makes one of them expendable for trade.
4.) Philipp Grubauer Washington Capitals. Grubauer, a 22-year-old German goaltender has played very well for the Caps who haven’t been able to find definite starter and backup positions with variation of play from Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth. I expect Neuvirth to be traded and the Caps will end up using Holtby and Grubauer as their one-two-punch for goaltending. Grubauer has piled together a 6-2-3 record in 12 games including a 2.27 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
3.) Cam Talbot New York Rangers. After an unexpected retirement by Martin Biron earlier this season, Rangers’ fans were not sure who’d fill in for him. It turns out Cam Talbot got called up from the AHL to backup elite goalie Henrik Lundqvist. So far Talbot has gone above all expectations posting a 9-3 record with a 1.66 GAA and a 9.38 save percentage and 2 shutouts. Talbot has really played outstanding for the Rangers this season and there is only room for improvement.
2.) Eddie Lack Vancouver Canucks. With Cory Schneider being traded to the Devils Eddie Lack was given the call to the NHL. He responded to the call-up by going 8-3-3 with a 2.19 GAA and a .923 save percentage in 17 games so far this season. As Luongo ages, Lack will get better and better and maybe take the starting position from Luongo.
1.) Martin Jones Los Angeles Kings. With Jonathan Quick going down with a groin injury in November, Jones was there to take over. Many fans were thinking the Kings would struggle to win games but they got just the opposite. Jones put up the best numbers out of any of the other goalies on this list with a 8-3 record and a 1.41 GAA as well as a .950 save percentage. To top it all off Jones got 3 shutouts in his 11 total games. Jones was sent back down to the minors after to further improve his skill and get more starts.
Ultimately, all of these goaltenders are very talented and will propel each of their respective franchises forward in the future when some become starters themselves.