NHL Top 10: Who are the league's best goalies right now?
Where once names like Roberto Luongo, Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price ruled the NHL goaltending list, times have changed. And so have the names of the goaltenders setting the standard. Ben Bishop and Jacob Markstrom are at the top of the heap, while youngsters like Tristan Jarry and Jordan Binnington are emerging. With the landscape changing, here are my top 10 NHL goalies right now.
10. Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues
He isn’t burning up the NHL right now, but he’s done something even more difficult. He’s established himself as a No. 1 goalie on the one of the best teams in the Western Conference as they defend their Stanley Cup title. Binnington is 22-7-5 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. He's readying for another playoff run with a St. Louis team priming for it in the West.
9. Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks
There's plenty of attention being paid to Vancouver's young forwards and defensemen — and rightfully so. But Markstrom deserves some accolades after earning his first career All-Star nod. He's 18-13-3 with a 2.71 goals against average and .916 save percentage for a team that doesn’t always play the tightest defense. That’s pretty impressive for a player who's finally emerging after a long development arc.
8. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
He's had some incredible seasons in the past. This isn’t one of those years for Vasilevskiy — or for the Lightning in general — but the Russian is still solid, with a 24-9-2 record, a 2.54 goals against average and .917 save percentage. The scary part is that Vasilevskiy has a long ways to improve in the second half for a Tampa Bay team finally getting its bearings.
7. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders
Varlamov has been the backbone to a fundamentally-strong Isles defensive group. The numbers (15-7-4, 2.50 GAA, .918 save pct.) aren’t amazing, considering the Isles' goalie-friendly style and how good he's been in the past. But he’s a No. 1 goalie on a team in the playoff picture, so he must be doing a few things right.
6. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets
With a 21-14-4 record, 2.67 goals against average and .920 save percentage, he's been consistently strong even with some turnover in front of him. Hellebuyck leads all NHL goaltenders with four shutouts, and has performed in spite of a heavy workload (40 of a possible 48 games played entering this weekend). One area where Hellebuyck hasn’t been so good: He’s allowed four goals on eight shots in shootouts.
5. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
Given their adversity, the Penguins are a surprise this season. One of the reasons for that is the youngster Jarry, who's outplaying Matt Murray between the pipes. He's posting a 16-7-1 record, 2.16 goals against average and .929 save percentage, along with an impressive three shutouts. He'll need to keep it up as workload and expectations increase, but so far he's been excellent.
4. Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks
Lehner has essentially pushed Corey Crawford out of a job with the way he’s played this season. He ranks among the best with a 2.85 goals against average, .923 save percentage and 14-7-4 record. The Blackhawks are threatening to get back into the playoff picture for the first time in a while. It might not be a coincidence that it's happening with Lehner's arrival in the Windy City.
3. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
He'll miss the next couple of games, and All-star weekend, with a concussion. But Rask (17-4-6, 2.27 GAA, .925 save pct.) should benefit from the extended time off he’s now getting. While he’s not the top-ranked goaltender on the list, he earns the prize for the best gift given by his employer: A Metallica drum kit, in recognition of his 500th game played.
2. Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes
Kuemper continues to be a breakout performer this season. His .929 save percentage is tied for the league lead among goalies with 20 games played. His 15-8-2 record and 2.17 goals against average aren't shabby, either. There's a number of reasons why the Coyotes will probably end up making the playoffs this season, but Kuemper's one of the biggest. He’s also only allowed one goal in the shootout this season, which is pretty, pretty good.
1. Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars
Along with Anton Khudobin, the big backstop makes the best goaltending duo in the league. Bishop is doing his part, with a 16-10-3 record, 2.22 goals against average and .929 save percentage. Khudobin has perhaps even been a touch better when he’s in net, and that's definitely pushed Bishop to be on his game. Now that the rest of the Stars are getting their games together, look for even better things for Bishop in the second half.