Ranking the NHL's Top 30 Starting Goaltenders
30. Cam Ward, Hurricanes: The only reason Ward remains a No. 1 is because his presence buys time for the development of prospect Alex Nedeljkovic. He's a placeholder for a young team looking toward brighter days ahead.
29. Kari Lehtnonen, Stars: Thirty-six goalies played at least 1,500 minutes last season. Lehtonen finished last among them with an even-strength save percentage of .909. He'll win games thanks to the run support he receives from Dallas' high-octane offense, but he can't be trusted to win games on his own.
28. Mike Smith, Coyotes: It might be time to pass the torch in Arizona, but Smith won't go quietly. The 34-year-old vet posted a save percentage of .930 or better in seven of his final 10 starts and appears to be healthy after missing time to core muscle surgery.
27. Cam Talbot, Oilers: The Oilers placed a big bet on Talbot, signing him to a three-year, $12.5 million extension last January. Will he play off? His save percentage dropped to a career-low .917 this past season, his first as a full-time NHL starter, but he'll have a more capable defense in front of him this year. He could rebound.
26. Pekka Rinne, Predators: Rinne has gone from being the savior in Nashville to the one player who could derail their championship aspirations. He was a disaster last season, ranking 26th in save percentage despite facing the third-fewest shots per game (and the second-fewest high-danger chances). With several options on the trade market, the 32-year-old might not be the No. 1 for long.
25. Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets: He might be the second-highest paid goalie in the league, but Bobrovsky played like a beer league call-up in 2015-16 (15-19-1, .908 save percentage, 2.75 goals against average). Add in three consecutive seasons abbreviated by groin injuries and it's hard to envision him returning to his Vezina-winning form.
24. Craig Anderson, Senators: At 35, Anderson simply isn't the player he used to be. He can still handle a heavy workload, but his declining numbers (.916 save percentage, 2.78 GAA) suggest this might be his final year as a No. 1.
23. Ryan Miller, Canucks: The 36-year-old is a lousy fit for a team that's engaged in a rebuild, but with an unmovable contract Miller's sure to at least start the season as Vancouver's No. 1. He still has his moments, but he's clearly a declining asset.
22. Robin Lehner, Sabres: The 25-year-old posted a solid .924 save percentage during an injury-riddled first season in Buffalo. He's ready to prove he was worth the first-round pick the Sabres paid to acquire him.
21. Connor Hellebuyck, Jets: After posting the best numbers of the three goaltenders employed by the Jets last season (a 2.34 GAA and a .918 save percentage), it's a good bet that the 23-year-old will assume the No. 1 job this season. The tools are there for him to become a solid starter. Now he just needs the experience.
Steve Mason, Flyers: His play down the stretch, when he started 17 of 18, was key to securing Philly's surprising playoff berth. That said, he wasn't as sharp as he was the year before. He can put this team on his back, but needs to raise his game if the Flyers are going to return to the postseason.
19. Semyon Varlamov, Avalanche: It's tough to get a good read on Varlamov. He allowed two goals or fewer in just 23 of of 57 starts (40%) and he ranked 24th among the league's starters with .923 save percentage at even strength, but he also carried the Avs for stretches by himself. He could benefit from a change in coaching, but he needs to ramp up his consistency as well.
18. Frederik Anderson, Maple Leafs: Andersen is a quality starter, but the 2016 Jennings winner will face an entirely new challenge in the Big Smoke. The Leafs need him to provide a steadying presence between the pipes, but they're quietly hoping he can top his .649 quality start percentage from last season.
17. Devan Dubnyk, Wild: Not that anyone really expected him to repeat his post-trade numbers from 2015, but Dubnyk's regression last season was startling. His GAA ballooned from 1.78 to 2.33 and his save percentage dropped from .936 to .918. Can he bounce back under new coach Bruce Boudreau? Anaheim's defensive performance under him is promising.
16. Jake Allen, Blues: The Blues demonstrated their faith in Allen by sending Elliott to Calgary. Now he has to prove he's up to the challenge of being an uncontested No. 1. His save percentage has risen from .905 to .913 to .920 over the past three seasons, but he's never handled a workload like the one he faces this year.
15. Jaroslav Halak, Islanders: There's no clear cut starter in Brooklyn as both Halak and Thomas Greiss will challenge for the job, but Halak's history—he set the franchise record for wins in 2014-15—and his paycheck suggest he could be in line for top spot out of the blocks. He's no world beater but he's a reliable mid-level option.
14. Tuukka Rask, Bruins: The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner is still largely viewed as an elite goalie but his numbers have declined noticeably each of the past two seasons ... and it's not entirely the fault of Boston's barely serviceable defense. One eye-catching stat: Rask finished 28th in quality starts among goalies who made at least 20 appearances. He's the best option now for the B's, but maybe not for long.
13. Petr Mrazek, Red Wings: He was a legitimate Vezina Trophy candidate midway through last season, his first as the team's No. 1, and while he was less consistent down the stretch, Mrazek still made a strong impression. His .633 quality starts percentage ranked sixth, setting the table for a strong 2016-17.
12. Jonathan Quick, Kings: If wins were all that mattered in this ranking, Quick's name would have appeared much earlier. But his personal numbers are a bit troubling. He finished seventh in goals-against (2.22) but just 17th in even-strength save percentage (.929) and 21st in overall save percentage (.918). Hardly elite.
11. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: The Pens may have won the Cup with Matt Murray between the pipes, but don't expect Fleury to turn over the starting job just yet. It's likely to be a 1/1A situation for much of the season, with the vet nabbing a majority of starts as GM Jim Rutherford looks to build a market. Fleury has won 209 games over the past six seasons, more than any other goalie.
10. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers: Which Lundqvist shows up this season? The one who posted a .945 save percentage as the Rangers got off to a 16-3-2 start or the one fishing beach balls out of his net during the playoffs (.867)? Sure, he was the victim of his team's frequent defensive meltdowns, but there was little of the magic we're used to seeing from him. Expect plenty of trade talk this season.
9. John Gibson, Ducks: The trade of Frederik Andersen to the Leafs speaks to how highly the Ducks think of Gibson. The co-winner of William M. Jennings Award set career highs in GAA (2.07), save percentage (.920), shutouts (4) and games played (40), hinting at his vast potential in his first season as a starter.
8. Brian Elliott, Flames: Time for the Rodney Dangerfield of the goaltending fraternity to get the respect he deserves. Elliott led the league in save percentage last season (.930) and was second at five-on-five (.938). He also was tops in goals-against/60 (1.72). He'll face more action in Calgary, but there's no reason to think he won't thrive there.
7. Roberto Luongo, Panthers: Go figure: At an age when most goalies would have hung up their pads, Luongo's even-strength save percentage continues to trend up. In fact, it's improved in each of the past three seasons, suggesting the 37-year-old wonder should again rank among the league leaders in 2016-17.
6. Martin Jones, Sharks: It's simple: the Sharks don't come anywhere near the Stanley Cup Final last spring without the brilliant play of their first-year starter. Jones needs to prove that he's not a flash in the pan, but his mental toughness and elite form suggest he's up to the challenge.
Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: Crawford tied Cory Schneider for the league lead last season by turning in a quality start 69% of the time. He also ranked first in shutouts (7), and fourth in both save percentage (.924) and wins (35). He can be the game on any given night.
4. Ben Bishop, Lightning: His time as the No. 1 in Tampa is drawing to a close, but for now Bishop gives the Bolts an elite starter. He led the league last season with a 2.06 GAA and ranked second with a .926 save percentage and six shutouts, all career highs.
3. Braden Holtby, Capitals: Yes, he benefits from strong goal support, but Holtby's consistency between the pipes marks him as one of the NHL's best. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner put together a 24-game streak last season without a regulation loss.
2. Cory Schneider, Devils: No goalie consistently does more, with less help, than Schneider. His .924 save percentage ranked fourth last season and if not for New Jersey's league-worst offense shading his win total, he would have been a Vezina Trophy finalist. This could be the year he wins the award.
1. Carey Price, Canadiens: If he's fully recovered from the knee injury that cut his 2015-16 season short, Price should quickly re-establish himself as the game's premier puckstopper. His poise under pressure and flawless technique set him apart from the crowd.