You’re always going to want to make sure that you have a team on your side that is going to have a goalie you can trust. These are some of the best goalies in our estimation that you are going to want to be on the lookout for in NHL betting action this year!
1: Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs – Well, what do we have here! It seemed as though G James Reimer was going to be the man of the hour in Toronto this year, but it is now clear that Bernier is going to be getting the call at least while he’s hot. This won’t be a goalie that plays in 70 games by any stretch of the imagination, but these 50 starts or so should all be very good. Bernier leads the league in save percentage thus far on the season at .974, and he is the only goalie in the game with a sub-1.00 GAA at 0.84. It’s a long season yet, but the Maple Leafs and their goalie both look tremendous at this point.
2: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Rask is a goalie that has a lot of talent and experience, and he has a great team in front of him as well. The numbers thus far this year are already astounding, as his GAA is sitting at a svelte 1.00 through three starts, and he has a .966 save percentage. We’re always a bit wary over the prices that the Bruins have on their heads, but there aren’t many goalies like Rask that can really shut the door the way that he has. The question that we have? Rask hasn’t played a game yet on the road, and we’ll have to see what that’s going to be like for him.
3: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins were probably knocked out of the playoffs last season because Fleury couldn’t keep his job and just couldn’t get his head in the game. It seems like the offseason has really done him well. The Canadian net minder has a .963 save percentage thus far on the season, and he has already posted a shutout as well. Again, like Rask though, the Pens haven’t played a game on the road, and it will be intriguing to see how Fleury deals with adversity when he has an enemy crowd against him.
4: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks – If Niemi could go up against the Canucks all the time, he’d be in great shape. His GAA is just 1.00 against Vancouver thus far this season. For the year, those numbers aren’t shabby either, as a 1.25 GAA and a .945 save percentage are about as good as it gets. We trust the Sharks this time of year, but when we get into the postseason, we know that we are going to have some issues.
5: Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche – We suppose that there is no better goalie to try to learn from than Patrick Roy, and now that Roy is the head coach of the Avs, Varlamov is clearly getting better at his trade. It’s helping as well that the team in front of him is scoring and hitting a lot harder than it once was, and that is taking this team from the butt of a lot of jokes in the Western Conference to one that could be one of the best in hockey.
6: Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues – Halak has started three games for the Blues thus far this year, and he has only allowed four goals in those games. What we do have to be aware of though, is that the schedule hasn’t been that tough, and the defense hasn’t allowed a lot of shots to get on net. This is part of what Halak has been good for though, and we think that it is going to continue. This is absolutely one of the best 10 goalies to back based upon what has been accomplished to start this season.
7: Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild – We probably should have Harding a bit higher up on this list, but we aren’t buying it quite yet. Last season, Harding hardly started at all, and he had to make his debut in the playoffs when G Niklas Backstrom got hurt in pre-game warm-ups. Yes, a .943 save percentage is nice, and a 1.12 GAA is one of the best in hockey, but Harding still doesn’t strike us as one of the absolutely best goalies in all of hockey.
8: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – Viktor Fasth started the year for the Ducks, and Hiller has quickly taken over. Hiller has a pair of starts, and his most recent one was an awesome shutout of the Rangers. We aren’t sure whether it is going to be Hiller or Fasth on any given night, but we know if it is Hiller, we are at least going to be considering backing Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and the gang.
9: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning – Bishop is the man in Tampa Bay now, and he is going to have a chance to bring the Bolts to the playoffs. After sitting on the bench in the first game of the year, Bishop has started the last three for the Lightning, each of which have resulted in victories. He has a .928 save percentage and a 1.93 GAA, and if he can keep those numbers up, this will make him the best goalie that the team has had in quite some time.
10: Anton Khudobin, Carolina Hurricanes – It’s only been two starts thus far, but Khudobin is proving that he could be the man to take over for G Cam Ward. Ward has started two games for the Hurricanes, and both games resulted in ugly losses. Khudobin has started two games, and those are the two that Carolina has won. A 1.50 GAA and a .940 save percentage aren’t anything to bat an eyelash at, but we know that we need a bigger sample set out of Khudobin to want to back him consistently.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.