Ranking NHL Teams By Goaltenders

Now that the 2020-21 NHL season is over and the 2021-22 campaign is upon us, it’s time to rank the teams by position once again. Starting with the goaltenders since that position seems the most solidified on paper across the league as of today. When it comes to ranking goaltenders, starters still carry the most weight despite the fact it’s becoming a two-goalie league, and positional depth is more important than ever before.

With that in mind, in the first of a four-part series, here are the goaltender rankings where they stand right now — counting down from No. 32 to No. 1.

32) Arizona Coyotes

Carter Hutton

Josef Korenar

Ivan Prosvetov

ANALYSIS: After trading Darcy Kuemper to the Colorado Avalanche for defenceman Conor Timmins and signing free agent Carter Hutton, the Arizona Coyotes took a step back in the goaltending department. Once boasting a strong tandem with Kuemper and Antti Raanta, they will likely go into the 2021-22 season with Hutton as the starter and unproven youngsters Josef Korenar and Ivan Prosvetov fighting for the backup position.

Carter Hutton Buffalo Sabres
Carter Hutton, seen here with the Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hutton has not been a good goaltender for a very long time. Over the last three seasons, he has a combined 3.12 goals-against average (GAA) and .902 save percentage (SV%) and has not finished with a positive goals saved above average (GSAA) since the 2017-18 season. Now a lot of that can be attributed to not having a good team in front of him in Buffalo but with the state of the Coyotes’ defence right now, that won’t be getting any better any time soon. So expect another long year for him.

31) Buffalo Sabres

Aaron Dell

Craig Anderson

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

ANALYSIS: The Buffalo Sabres have gone through a carrousel of goaltenders since Ryan Miller got traded to the St. Louis Blues in 2014. Starting with Jhonas Enroth, they have gone through six goaltenders and are now on their seventh starter in eight seasons. Trusting former San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils’ backup Aaron Dell as their starter and veteran Craig Anderson as their backup, they have stayed relatively the same with their goaltending going into 2021-22.

Aaron Dell New Jersey Devils
Aaron Dell, seen here with the New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dell has not started more than 30 games in the NHL and Anderson is 40 years old getting closer and closer to retirement every day. He’s still a serviceable backup, but that means the Sabres are relying on an unproven Dell to lead them in the crease season.

30) San Jose Sharks

Adin Hill

James Reimer

Alexei Melnichuk

ANALYSIS: Finally moving on from Martin Jones and his large contract, the era of Adin Hill will begin in 2021-22. The second-straight unproven goaltender to be thrust into the starter role this season, the Sharks hope that he is up to the task. The 24-year-old has not started more than 17 games in the NHL, but he will have a veteran in James Reimer backing him up. Reimer could even take over as the starter if Hill isn’t ready for the big leagues.

29) Edmonton Oilers

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Alex Stalock

ANALYSIS: Banking on a tandem of 39-year-old Mike Smith and the inconsistent Mikko Koskinen for the third-straight season, the Edmonton Oilers will attempt to make the playoffs. Unfortunately for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, they won’t make it very far as long as they’re in the crease.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Smith is really a shell of his former self, except for some flashes of past greatness and Koskinen can’t seem to get into any sort of groove. Until they upgrade the goaltending and the defence, they are not going anywhere.

28) Los Angeles Kings

Jonathan Quick

Cal Petersen

Matthew Villalta

Garret Sparks

ANALYSIS: It won’t be too long before 35-year-old Jonathan Quick transitions to the backup role and Cal Petersen takes over as the starter. Under contract until the end of the 2022-23 season, he has battled injuries to his hip and groin recently and has not started more than 60 games since the 2017-18 season. His numbers have also taken a significant hit, although that could be attributed to the team in front of him too.

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In fact, Petersen might even start the season as the Kings’ starter. He pushed Quick for playing time last season and ended up starting 32 games. He is also way younger at 26 years old and has posted better numbers than his mentor over the past few seasons. In 54 NHL appearances, he has a 2.79 GAA and .916 SV%. Over that same period of time, Quick has a 2.94 GAA and .896 SV%.

27) Ottawa Senators

Matt Murray

Anton Forsberg

Filip Gustavsson

ANALYSIS: The Matt Murray experiment has not been a success in the Nation’s Capital. The two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins has not hit his stride yet as the Ottawa Senators’ new starting goaltender. That’s not likely to change in 2021-22 either. The defence led by Tomas Chabot and Nikita Zaitsev has not really got any better, so I would expect another campaign with a lot of high danger chances and goals against.

Matt Murray Ottawa Senators
Matt Murray, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That’s not good news for Murray and his backup Anton Forsberg. He only started eight games last season and did not perform well, finishing with a 3.21 GAA and .909 SV%. Unless Murray can put on a Vezina Trophy-like performance, it’s going to be another long year in Ottawa.

26) Dallas Stars

Anton Khudobin

Braden Holtby

Jake Oettinger

IR: Ben Bishop

ANALYSIS: After leading the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020, Anton Khudobin fell back to earth finishing with a mediocre 2.54 GAA and .905 SV%. His team also missed the playoffs and is now being labeled as a pretender rather than a contender. Now 35 years old, that 2019-20 season might end up being his best in the NHL.

Anton Khudobin Dallas Stars
Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With Ben Bishop expected to never man the crease for the Stars again, general manager Jim Nill decided to sign 31-year-old Braden Holtby. Yet another goaltender who struggled to find his game last season, will attempt to get back on track in Dallas. Fortunately for him, he will have a better defensive team this season to do it behind.

25) Boston Bruins

Linus Ullmark

Jeremy Swayman

Troy Grosenick

Callum Booth

ANALYSIS: For the first time since 2009, the Boston Bruins will have a new starting goaltender in the crease in either Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman when the puck drops on the 2021-22 season. With Tuukka Rask still unsigned and nursing an injury that will keep him out until late 2021, they hope that one of them can fill his massive pads.

Jeremy Swayman Boston Bruins
Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Swayman burst onto the scene with an eye-opening 1.50 GAA and .945 SV% in 10 games with the Bruins last season and could usurp Ullmark as the starter if he can continue that same momentum in 2021-22. The former Mike Richter Award winner might turn out to be a steal for the Bruins if he can establish himself as a starter in the NHL. If his numbers so far are any indication of future success, he’s well on his way to doing just that.

24) Anaheim Ducks

John Gibson

Anthony Stolarz

Lukas Dostal

ANALYSIS: Despite the chaos and uncertainty around the defence and forward group of the Anaheim Ducks, the last thing they have to worry about is their goaltending. John Gibson is one of the best starters in the NHL, even though his numbers over the last couple of seasons don’t show it. Signed until the end of the 2026-27 season under a very budget-friendly $6.4 million in average annual value (AAV), he gives the Ducks a chance to win every single night.

John Gibson Ducks
John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Unless the Ducks go out and sign a better backup, 27-year-old Anthony Stolarz will take over the role after Miller retired last season. He has only 34 NHL games under his belt, but he did perform well in the eight appearances he had in 2020-21 posting a 2.20 GAA and .926 SV%.

23) Minnesota Wild

Cam Talbot

Kaapo Kahkonen

Andrew Hammond

ANALYSIS: Since his struggles with the Oilers, Cam Talbot has turned back the clock to become a decent starter in the NHL again. That said, he is still only an average goaltender. Though with the poor goaltending the Wild received before him, average is better than nothing.

Cam Talbot Minnesota Wild
Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kaapo Kahkonen is an okay backup, but probably not someone you can rely on long-term. He had a good sophomore season posting a 2.88 GAA and .902 SV%, but he struggled towards the end allowing three or more goals in seven of his last eight starts, including a 9-1 debacle at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. If he has sights on holding down a job in the NHL, those types of games cannot happen.

22) New Jersey Devils

Mackenzie Blackwood

Jonathan Bernier

Scott Wedgewood

ANALYSIS: With the additions of Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves, Mackenzie Blackwood should have a much-improved defence in front of him this season. A goaltender is usually only as good as the team in front of him, unless you’re Roberto Luongo that is, his numbers should be better this season. Faced with fewer high-danger chances and shots in general, his talent likely will be enough to keep his team in games.

Mackenzie Blackwood New Jersey Devils
Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Jonathan Bernier can step into the starter’s role in a pinch, so I would expect this tandem to get a somewhat equal distribution of starts. On a Red Wings team that allowed the most goals in the NHL, Bernier finished with a respectable 2.99 GAA and .914 SV%. That’s pretty impressive when you consider the number of chances he had to face night in and night out. He should be able to successfully step in for Blackwood a lot more than Scott Wedgewood, Eric Comrie and Aaron Dell did, that’s for sure.

21) Columbus Blue Jackets

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Cam Johnson

ANALYSIS: The once-solid tandem of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins got knocked down a few pegs in this version of the rankings. After being ranked fourth behind only Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask, and Andrei Vasilevskiy, they have fallen to 21st. They weren’t alone as the rest of the Columbus Blue Jackets stumbled along with them. Missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons and winning only 18 games in the process, they just didn’t seem to have it at any point last season. In the end, it cost head coach John Tortorella his job.

Joonas Korpisalo Columbus Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Armed with a new coach in Brad Larsen and a motivated goaltending tandem in Korpisalo and Merzlikins, the Blue Jackets hope to turn things around in 2021-22.

20) Pittsburgh Penguins

Tristan Jarry

Casey DeSmith

Filip Lindberg

Alex D’Orio

ANALYSIS: Since Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury left, the Pittsburgh Penguins have struggled to get consistent performances from their starting goaltenders. Tristan Jarry has been good, but he’s also been upstaged by his backup Casey DeSmith at times too. In fact, DeSmith finished the 2020-21 season with better numbers than him posting a 2.54 GAA and .912 SV% while Jarry finished with a 2.75 GAA and .909 SV%. For the Penguins to excel both in the regular season and the playoffs, one of them has to step up and firmly take the reigns as the undisputed starter.

19) Nashville Predators

Juuse Saros

David Rittich

Connor Ingram

Yaroslav Askarov

ANALYSIS: Now that Pekka Rinne has retired from the NHL, it is Juuse Saros’ crease until 19-year-old phenom Yaroslav Askarov is ready to take the job. Fortunately for the Nashville Predators, he has already shown that is up to the task. Since rising to the starting role during the 2019-20 season, his numbers have looked very good. He even posted a career-best 2.28 GAA and .927 SV% last season.

Juuse Saros Nashville Predators
Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Taking the place of Rinne as the backup this season will be former Flame and Maple Leaf, David Rittich. Since losing his starting job to Jacob Markstrom in Calgary, he’s struggled to find his 2018-19 form that saw him win 27 games and post a career-best 2.61 GAA and .911 SV%. He didn’t really catch on in Toronto, so look for him to desperately try to redeem himself in Music City.

18) Calgary Flames

Jacob Markstrom

Daniel Vladar

Tyler Parsons

ANALYSIS: The Calgary Flames brought in Jacob Markstrom to solidify their goaltending last offseason. Solidify it, he did, but his team didn’t help him out very much. Similar to his days with the Vancouver Canucks, he had to stand on his head and face a multitude of high danger chances night in and night out. After 286 high danger shots last season, he saw another 218 this season. He did end up posting a better GAA than last season, but his SV% took a hit dropping from .918 to .904, his worst since 2014-15 when he played only three games and finished with a .879 SV%. If the Flames hope to make the playoffs this season, they need to play better in front of their goaltender, period.

Jacob Markstrom Calgary Flames
Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Backing Markstrom up this season will be 24-year-old Daniel Vladar, formally of the Bruins. The Czech native played five games with the big club in 2020-21 and recorded a 3.40 GAA and .886 SV%. He also starred for the AHL’s Providence Bruins and finished with a 2.19 GAA and .923 SV% along with one shutout. If he can bring those numbers to the NHL, Markstrom might get a break now and then. If not, look for him to be their workhorse yet again.

17) St. Louis Blues

Jordan Binnington

Ville Husso

Charlie Lindgren

ANALYSIS: Jordan Binnington may not be the Vezina Trophy caliber goaltender that led the St. Louis Blues to a Stanley Cup championship anymore, but he’s still a solid starter in the NHL. Since that storybook season, he’s fallen back to earth a bit, especially when it comes to the playoffs. After winning 16 games and a Cup back in 2019, he has not won a postseason game since. Sporting an 0-9 record and an uncharacteristic 3.88 GAA and .875 SV% during the past two playoff runs, the Blues are going to need a whole lot more from their starting netminder if they hope to get back to the Stanley Cup Final again someday.

Jordan Binnington St. Louis Blues
Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ville Husso returns as Binnington’s backup, but unless he can improve on his performance from last season that saw him post a 3.20 GAA and .893 SV%, he probably won’t see the net very often.

16) Florida Panthers

Sergei Bobrovsky

Spencer Knight

Christopher Gibson

Samuel Montembeault

ANALYSIS: Is this the season Spencer Knight arrives in the NHL? He sure seems ready for it after a 4-0 regular-season record and a sparkling 2.06 GAA and .933 SV% in the playoffs. Sergei Bobrovsky is still the big money man for the Florida Panthers, but Knight is clearly the goaltender of the future. He could even become the goaltender of the present as soon as this season, especially if Bobrovsky faulters.

Sergei Bobrovsky Florida Panthers
Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Christopher Gibson and Samuel Montembeault are also capable goaltenders, but unless a team desperate to get to the salary cap floor takes on Bobrovsky’s contract, they are stuck behind him and Knight. Bobrovsky is now far removed from his Vezina Trophy campaign, so unless a miracle happens, the Panthers are stuck with him as a mediocre goaltender getting paid $10 million AAV.

15) New York Rangers

Igor Shesterkin

Alexandar Georgiev

Keith Kinkaid

Adam Huska

ANALYSIS: Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev have made the loss of future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist palatable for the New York Rangers and their fans. Shesterkin has established himself as a solid starter and Georgiev, despite having an off-year statistically, is a very capable backup that can step into the starter’s role in a pinch. Heck, before Shesterkin came along, he was considered the goaltender of the future in the Big Apple.

14) Philadelphia Flyers

Carter Hart

Martin Jones

Felix Sandstrom

ANALYSIS: Despite recording only nine wins and a career-worst 3.67 GAA and .877 SV%, Carter Hart is still one of the best goaltenders in the game today. With a better defence in front of him in 2021-22, he should be able to bounce back. He’s just too good not to.

Carter Hart Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After being bought out by the Sharks, Martin Jones will try and rejuvenate his career with the Philadelphia Flyers. Once an elite goaltender in the NHL, he has fallen on hard times. Now 31 years old and five seasons removed from his only Stanley Cup Final appearance, he has become a shadow of his former self. 2020-21 marked the third-straight campaign where he put up a new career-worst in GAA. He also finished yet another year with a SV% of under .900. Needless to say, Jones desperately needed a change of scenery.

13) Washington Capitals

Ilya Samsonov

Vitek Vanecek

Pheonix Copley

ANALYSIS: Ilya Samsonov returns for his third season in the NHL and second without long-time netminder Braden Holtby as a mentor. He only has 40 starts under his belt but has firmly supplanted him as the Capitals’ number one goaltender. And he’s only 22 years old. Imagine the player he will be when he hits his prime. Needless to say, they won’t have to worry about their goaltending for a very long time.

Ilya Samsonov Washington Capitals
Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As for his backup, Vitek Vanacek has been on quite the ride this past offseason. First, he was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Then, as he was getting his mind set on joining a new NHL team for the first time in his career, he was traded back to the Capitals for a second-round pick. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions for the 25-year-old.

12) Toronto Maple Leafs

Jack Campbell

Petr Mrazek

Michael Hutchinson

Joseph Woll

ANALYSIS: The Frederik Andersen era is over. It is 29-year-old Jack Campbell’s crease now. Since coming over in a trade with the Kings in 2020, he has looked very good in a tandem with Andersen. He even took over the starting role at the end of the season when Andersen was injured and put together a resume that made general manager Kyle Dubas and Co. decide against re-signing him. Campbell finished the season with a sparkling 2.15 GAA and .921 SV% along with two shutouts and continued his brilliance in the playoffs with a 1.81 GAA and .934 SV%. Those numbers made the decision to move on from Andersen pretty easy.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now the Leafs hope that he and new addition Petr Mrazek can provide the solid goaltending they need to not only return to the playoffs but also make it past the first round. Though it may not be totally up to them, as Campbell provided brilliant goaltending in the playoffs to only see the Maple Leafs dry up offensively and fail to close out a 3-1 series lead.

11) Carolina Hurricanes

Frederik Andersen

Antti Raanta

Alex Lyon

ANALYSIS: Essentially the Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes swapped goaltenders this offseason when the former signed Mrazek and the latter signed Andersen. Who will ultimately win the swap remains to be seen, but if Andersen can provide the same quality goaltending he has in the past, the Hurricanes will come out on top in this match-up. As long as he stays healthy, that is.

Frederik Andersen Toronto Maple Leafs
Frederik Andersen with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Hurricanes’ new backup, Antti Raanta is in a similar boat as he’s been injury-prone lately too. Since his arrival from the Rangers in the summer of 2017, he has missed almost two seasons with various lower-body injuries and has not played a full campaign since his first season with the Coyotes when he played 47 games. When healthy, he can be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. So, if both Andersen and Raanta can remain off the injury reserve list, they should have one of the best tandems in the NHL.

10) Vancouver Canucks

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Michael DiPietro

Spencer Martin

ANALYSIS: Now entering his second season as a starter for the Canucks, Thatcher Demko should be ready to take the next step in his development. After struggling at times to find his footing during the 2020-21 season, he managed to put together a pretty solid campaign considering the circumstances. In a year where he battled COVID-19 and a subsequent long layoff, he finished with a 2.85 GAA and .915 SV%. He also stayed above the watermark in the GSAA category, improving from a minus-3.7 in 2019-20 to a plus-8.2 in 2020-21.

Thatcher Demko Vancouver Canucks
Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Jaroslav Halak should be an upgrade on Holtby this season, as he’s used to playing the role of a backup. As the second in command to Rask, he started 83 games and finished with a 2.40 GAA and .918 SV% to go along with 10 shutouts. He is also a veteran of 539 games and has 281 wins on his resume.

9) Vegas Golden Knights

Robin Lehner

Laurent Brossoit

Logan Thompson

ANALYSIS: After two seasons stuck in a goaltending controversy with 2021 Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, Robin Lehner will finally be the primary starter for the Vegas Golden Knights. Now entering the third year of a six-year pact he signed with the team in 2019, he will try to live up to the hype of his $5 million average annual value (AAV) cap hit. Because of injury and the dominance of Fleury, he has only played in 22 games for his new team. Those 22 games were good though, as he put together a 16-4-2 record along with a 2.20 GAA, .917 SV%, and two shutouts.

Robin Lehner Vegas Golden Knights
Robin Lehner, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

His backup this season will be Laurent Brossoit, a goaltender who is used to being behind a superstar. For three seasons he was the backup to 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck. He was a pretty decent second-string too, as he only had one season where he finished under .900 in SV% and over 2.50 in GAA.

8) Colorado Avalanche

Darcy Kuemper

Pavel Francouz

Jonas Johansson

Hunter Miska

ANALYSIS: Replacing Philipp Grubauer this season will be former Coyotes and Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper. If he stays healthy, he should bring the same quality of goaltending Grubauer did, maybe even better. At times in his career, Kuemper has looked like one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. In fact, before he was injured during the 2019-20 season, he was discussed as being a frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy alongside names like Andrei Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck.

Darcy Kuemper Arizona Coyotes
Darcy Kuemper with the Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If Kuemper falls victim to the injury bug again, the Avalanche have a very capable backup in 31-year-old Pavel Francouz. When Varlamov was injured last season, he stepped in and provided extremely solid goaltending to the tune of a 2.41 GAA and .923 SV%. He also had a winning record of 21-7-4 over 30 starts.

7) Detroit Red Wings

Alex Nedeljkovic

Thomas Greiss

Calvin Pickard

ANALYSIS: Vaulting up the rankings from the basement to the top ten is the Detroit Red Wings. Why did they rise so much, you ask? A player by the name of Alex Nedeljkovic, that’s why. Once the goaltender of the future for the Hurricanes, the former 2021 Calder Trophy finalist increases the quality of the Red Wings’ goaltending substantially going into the 2021-22 season. They may not have the forwards or defence to make a run at the playoffs, but they definitely will have the goaltending.

Alex Nedeljkovic Carolina Hurricanes
Alex Nedeljkovic with the Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

At 35-years-old, Thomas Greiss should be a good mentor and back up to the 25-year-old Nedeljkovic. He has been a solid goaltender for a while now and has not finished a season with a GAA of higher than 2.74 and a SV% under .912 since the 2017-18 campaign. In fact, he has only seen two seasons where he failed to finish with a SV% of over .900.

6) Seattle Kraken

Philipp Grubauer

Chris Driedger

Joey Daccord

ANALYSIS: After a season where he put up a stingy 1.95 GAA and .922 SV% along with a league-leading seven shutouts, Grubauer will try and do his best Fleury impression for the Seattle Kraken in their inaugural season. Granted he won’t have the same firepower Fleury did up front, but he should have a more than adequate defence to limit the high danger chances in front of him. If he is able to provide the same type of goaltending he did for the Avalanche over the past three seasons, goaltending will be the least of general manager Ron Francis’ worries.

Philipp Grubauer Colorado Avalanche
Philipp Grubauer with the Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Behind him will be another solid option in Chris Driedger. There were times in Florida where he looked like a better goaltender than $10 million man Sergei Bobrovsky. He also finished with an impressive 14-6-3 record along with a sparkling 2.07 GAA and .927 SV%.

5) New York Islanders

Semyon Varlamov

Ilya Sorokin

Jakub Skarek

Ken Appleby

ANALYSIS: The New York Islanders’ defensive structure might make their goaltenders look better than they actually are, but that fact shouldn’t devalue anything Semyon Varlamov has done for them over the past two seasons. Finishing with a career-best 2.04 GAA and .929 SV% along with seven shutouts, he was as close to a brick wall as you can get. On a team that thrived on one-goal games and 2-1 and 1-0 wins, he was the perfect goaltender for Barry Trotz to trot out every night.

Semyon Varlamov New York Islanders
Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Beyond Varlamov, there is another potential brick wall in Ilya Sorokin. His rookie season was very impressive as he put together a solid 13-6-3 record along with a 2.17 GAA, .918 SV%, and three shutouts. If he continues his progression this season, the Islanders might have the best tandem in the NHL.

4) Winnipeg Jets

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

Mikhail Berdin

ANALYSIS: After winning the Vezina Trophy in 2020, Hellebuyck returned to the Winnipeg Jets’ crease and proceeded to put on yet another goaltending clinic. Like Luongo in his Panthers’ days, he finished his third-straight season facing the most shots in the NHL. Over 45 starts, he had to contend with 1335 pieces of vulcanized rubber being launched at him along with a staggering 293 high-danger shots too. I’m surprised his legs are still working right now after that barrage.

Connor Hellebuyck Winnipeg Jets
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hellebuyck gives the Jets a chance to win every night, that’s why he’s one of the best the game has to offer right now. Though, for them to go further in the playoffs, they have to start limiting the shots and chances against. Hellebuyck may be a superstar, but he shouldn’t always have to be the best player each and every night.

3) Chicago Blackhawks

Marc-Andre Fleury

Kevin Lankinen

Malcolm Subban

Collin Delia

ANALYSIS: Joining only his third team in his NHL career, Marc-Andre Fleury will have to adjust to a lesser team in front of him for the first time in a long time. Like Hellebuyck before him, he might have to be the Chicago Blackhawks’ best player most of the season for them to have a chance in the Central Division. Luckily for them, he might be up to the task. Coming off his first Vezina Trophy at a ripe 36 years old, he seems to be at the prime of his life as he was able to put up career numbers in his 17th season in the league. Finishing with a 1.98 GAA and .928 SV% along with six shutouts, he was able to lead the Golden Knights to a Jennings Trophy and another 16 playoff games.

Marc-Andre Fleury Vegas Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury with the Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kevin Lankinen might not get many games behind Fleury, but when he does get a chance in the crease he should be a decent option. Before struggling towards the end of the season, he was one of the bright spots for the Blackhawks. There was even a time where playoffs were a possibility because of his play. Maybe with a lesser load this season, he can take the next step in his development behind an uber veteran like Fleury.

2) Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price

Jake Allen

Cayden Primeau

ANALYSIS: Luckily for the Montreal Canadiens, Carey Price not only wasn’t chosen by the Kraken but also looks like he will be ready to go for training camp. Arguably the reason the Canadiens were able to make it to the Stanley Cup Final last season, he was vintage Price throughout the 2021 Playoffs. His regular-season numbers weren’t anything to write home about, but when it came to the playoffs, a different story emerged.

After a standout performance in the bubble during the 2020 Playoffs that saw Price record a 1.78 GAA and .936 SV%, he continued his dominance in 2020 with a 2.28 GAA and .924 SV%. He also came within three wins of a Stanley Cup. I don’t think I have to say it, but I will anyway, Price is still one of the best goaltenders in the world.

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Leaving Price exposed to protect their backup Jake Allen was a calculated risk that paid off. Allen has not played the role of starter since the 2018-19 season, but he still has the pedigree of one. Spelling Price throughout the season to keep him fresh for the playoffs turned out to be the right move as they were able to ride him to a Stanley Cup Final appearance. They will hope to do the same thing this season, except without the shutdown defence and leadership of Shea Weber in front of him.

1) Tampa Bay Lightning

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Maxime Lagace

ANALYSIS: Now a two-time Stanley Cup winner, Vasilevskiy has solidified himself as the best goaltender in the world. Calm and controlled almost every game, he has earned that title through hard work and humility. He doesn’t think he’s the best, and that is what keeps him in a constant state of improvement. Now entering his eighth season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, his game keeps getting better with each and every season. After winning the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19 with a 2.40 GAA and .925 SV%, he was able to beat those numbers in 2020-21 finishing with a 2.21 GAA and .925 SV%. If Fleury didn’t record the numbers he did, he would have won his second in three seasons.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy
Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Behind him will be Brian Elliott, who has become a pretty good backup in the NHL. He won’t see the starts he did with the Flyers, but he should provide the Lightning with solid goaltending when called upon. For the first time in years, he also will have a good defence in front of him. He hasn’t had that since his days with the Blues when he was putting up multiple seasons of low GAAs, including a career season in 2011-12 where he put up a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV%.

Recapping Goaltender Rankings

1) Tampa Bay Lightning

2) Montreal Canadiens

3) Chicago Blackhawks

4) Winnipeg Jets

5) New York Islanders

6) Seattle Kraken

7) Detroit Red Wings

8) Colorado Avalanche

9) Vegas Golden Knights

10) Vancouver Canucks

11) Carolina Hurricanes

12) Toronto Maple Leafs

13) Washington Capitals

14) Philadelphia Flyers

15) New York Rangers

16) Florida Panthers

17) St. Louis Blues

18) Calgary Flames

19) Nashville Predators

20) Pittsburgh Penguins

21) Columbus Blue Jackets

22) New Jersey Devils

23) Minnesota Wild

24) Anaheim Ducks

25) Boston Bruins

26) Dallas Stars

27) Ottawa Senators

28) Los Angeles Kings

29) Edmonton Oilers

30) San Jose Sharks

31) Buffalo Sabres

32) Arizona Coyotes

Feel free to disagree with those rankings and share your own in the comments below.

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