The NHL’s new common season is 2 days away, and THN.com is constant to rank the depth of the league’s workforce rosters.
On Wednesday, we analyzed the NHL’s high 5 groups by way of their top-six ahead teams. Thursday, we labelled the 5 groups with the weakest top-six ahead teams. Friday, we rated the 5 finest protection corps within the NHL, and Saturday, we recognized the 5 worst protection corps within the league.
At present, we’re trying on the 5 groups with the very best goaltending tandems. In reverse order, listed here are this author’s selections:
5. Minnesota Wild
High two goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury, Filip Gustavsson
As most likely the purest tandem (that means full and even splitting of 82 video games) on this listing, the Wild’s goaltending future clearly revolves across the 25-year-old Gustavsson, who posted a formidable .931 save share and a couple of.10 goals-against common in 39 appearances final season.
The 38-year-old Fleury is within the closing season of his present contract and will retire subsequent summer season, however he nonetheless managed to place up a .908 SP and a couple of.85 GAA in 46 appearances. If Gustavsson takes on somewhat extra workload this season, Fleury’s totals might be improved with the following lower in appearances.
Minnesota as soon as once more tasks to not be probably the most potent workforce on offense in 2023-24, and which means the WIld’s goalies might want to steal them some video games in the event that they’re to have any hope at a deep playoff run. The potential final stand of Fleury might present an emotional enhance to the workforce, however don’t be stunned to see him used extra sparingly within the hope of creating him more practical. Both method, the Wild will seemingly get extra strong netminding this season.
4. Winnipeg Jets
High two goalies: Connor Hellebuyck, Laurent Brossoit
Given the tenuous state of affairs between looming UFA Hellebuyck and Jets administration, the Jets might fall utterly off this listing if Hellebuyck is shipped out of city by the commerce deadline. For the second, although, the return to Winnipeg of Brossoit for a second tour of obligation solidifies the web image in Manitoba this yr.
Brossoit posted a glowing .927 SP and a couple of.17 GAA final season in Vegas, however he made solely 11 appearances – his lowest complete in that regard because the 2016-17 marketing campaign. He’s by no means performed greater than 24 video games in a single NHL season, but when Hellebuyck is traded, it’s seemingly Jets administration will give a lot of the workload to Brossoit. However for so long as Hellebuyck and Brossoit are working collectively, the Jets gained’t have to fret about their goaltending this yr.
3. Dallas Stars
High two goalies: Jake Oettinger, Scott Wedgewood
The 24-year-old Oettinger has emerged as one of many league’s elite younger goaltenders, placing up spectacular particular person numbers, together with a .919 SP and a couple of.37 GAA final yr. He’s additionally a bona fide workhorse, showing in 62 video games in 2022-23. The Stars will rely upon him about as a lot as they did final season, nevertheless it’s not only a one-man present between the pipes for Dallas.
Backing up Oettinger is 31-year-old veteran Wedgewood, who turned in a 2.72 GAA and .915 SP in 21 appearances. He’s settled in properly as Oettinger’s understudy, and he can tackle some extra duty, as he made 37 appearances in 2021-22. Each Oettinger and Wedgewood are supported by one of many NHL’s stronger protection corps (and general workforce defenses), however collectively, they’re able to main this well-balanced Dallas workforce to nice heights in 2023-24.
2. Boston Bruins
High two goalies: Linus Ullmark, Jeremy Swayman
The crunch of the wage cap has damage many NHL groups this yr, however none greater than Boston, who had a worrisome exodus of veteran expertise, notably at ahead.
That mentioned, the Bruins managed to carry onto the duo of Ullmark and Swayman, who mixed to win the 2022-23 William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the workforce of goalies who allowed the fewest objectives in a single season.
Ullmark certainly struggled to comply with up his Vezina Trophy-winning regular-season efficiency with a powerful playoff displaying this previous spring. However he’s nonetheless solely 30 years outdated and coming off a season by which he had a .938 SP and 1.89 GAA in 49 appearances, and he’ll be taking part in behind a powerful Bruins protection corps as soon as once more.
The 24-year-old Swayman additionally had terrific particular person numbers (2.27 GAA, .920 SP in 37 appearances), and he’s obtained the talent and consistency to be an much more essential contributor for Boston this yr. Goaltending depth is a luxurious few groups have, however the Bruins are one of many lucky groups that do.
1. New York Islanders
High two goalies: Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov
While you’ve obtained arguably the highest netminder within the league, you’re already the envy of the NHL. That a lot is true of the Islanders and star goaltender Sorokin.
The 28-year-old shone like a diamond in 2023-24, making a career-high 62 appearances whereas placing up a .924 SP and a couple of.34 GAA. With out him, the Isles wouldn’t have been a playoff workforce final yr. If he struggles this yr – which we don’t suppose is probably going – the Isles gained’t be a playoff workforce this season.
Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has doubled down on his roster by bringing again a lot of the expertise the workforce had final season. Particularly, he’s reinvested within the tandem of Sorokin and 35-year-old Varlamov, the latter of who might’ve left as a UFA this summer season however re-signed on a four-year, $11-million contract extension.
Varlamov made 23 appearances final season, his fewest since a six-game NHL stint in 2008-09. However his .913 SP and a couple of.70 GAA had been barely higher than common – and because the Isles’ No. 2 netminder, that’s precisely the type of efficiency workforce brass is anticipating from him.
The Isles additionally shall be challenged to generate offense this yr, however their protection is their bread and butter. Sorokin and Varlamov have the potential to ship huge issues to them in that regard this yr.
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