NHL Goalie Report for the 2013-14 Season
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 were some of the best goalies in our estimation last season that you are going to want to be on the lookout for in NHL betting action this year!
1: Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators – Anderson had a 1.69 GAA last season, easily the best in hockey. What he didn’t have last year though, was Erik Karlsson on the back line for the mass majority of the regular season. Anderson posted three shutouts and had a .941 save percentage, and the argument could be made that he was the best goalie in the league. We are a bit wary about backing Anderson and the Senators this year, as there is no doubt that he might end up taking a step back, not just out of the fact that there is no way he can post a 1.69 GAA once again, but for the fact that he probably doesn’t have nearly as good of a team around him as he had last year.
2: Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks – The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year, and we don’t remember the last time that a team won a Cup without having a truly elite goalie. Remember that it was only two years ago that the fans in the Windy City were clamoring over the fact that Antti Niemi was kicked out of town, but it looks like the team knew what it was doing. Crawford not only won the Cup, but he posted a 1.94 GAA and a .926 save percentage. He also had three shutouts in just 30 starts and won 19 of those games, truly remarkable numbers.
3: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks – Speaking of Niemi… The Sharks know that they have something special here with Niemi as well. This is the best net minder that the team has likely ever had, and there is no doubting the fact that he is the lifeline for a team that has struggled offensively. What we know about Niemi is that he isn’t going to take many games off; he played in 43 of the 48 regular season games last year. No, Niemi didn’t have the world’s best GAA at 2.16, but he did lead the league with 24 wins, and there’s definitely something to be said about that.
4: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets – Oh, so close! Bobrovsky was excellent down the stretch of last season, lead Columbus to wins in eight of its last nine games. The team though, wasn’t quite good enough around him to get into the postseason for the just the second time in team history. There are better goalies, but there might not be more important goalies. Bobrovsky put up a 2.00 GAA last year on a team that isn’t known to be good defensively, and for that alone, he deserves to be called a Top 5 goalie going into this year.
5: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – There was a point that the Bruins thought they were going to be in a world of trouble when Tim Thomas retired, but the truth of the matter is that Rask has picked up right where Thomas left off when he won the Stanley Cup. With a 2.00 GAA and five shutouts, which tied for the best mark in the league, Rask is clearly the man of the future for the B’s, and he is a man that we want to be backing right now on the NHL betting lines.
6: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings – Here’s the only question that we have about Howard: Can he do it in the Eastern Conference and in a very stacked Atlantic Division. The rivals that Howard is about to be facing have a lot of firepower, and there is no doubt that this could be a problem going forward. Still, Howard is one of the most consistent goalies in the league, and he carried this team into the playoffs last year. Five shutouts in 42 starts with a 2.13 GAA is nothing to bat an eyelash at.
7: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers – The reason that we are down on Lundqvist just a bit at this point is because he has a new coach in Alain Vigneault that is going to up the tempo of the game just a bit, which could end up putting the Swede in the line of fire more often. We know that he is one of the very best goalies in the game, and his 2.05 GAA was no mistake, especially when you consider how good that he was in the playoffs as well.
8: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators – Rinne was a bit of an enigma last year. He posted five shutouts, tied for the most in hockey, but he also only had a .910 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA. That just not good enough for a team that doesn’t have much in the way of offensive firepower. That said, we’re looking at value here more than anything else, and Rinne has plenty of that. He’s remarkable in the pipes, he doesn’t have a backup to look over his shoulder at, and he is playing on a team that is getting no respect this year.
9: Viktor Fasth, Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks used a goalie platoon last year, and Fasth was clearly the more valuable of the two men. There is a question as to whether or not Fasth has overstepped his bounds or not for Anaheim, knowing that he was already 30 years old at the start of last season, and he had never played in the NHL before that point. Still, he had a 2.18 GAA and a .924 save percentage. When he’s in the pipes, Fasth is a man to back for now.
10: Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils – Schneider is the only man on this list that has changed teams in the offseason, and the move might be a perfect one. Schneider is still going to have to sit behind Martin Brodeur, but at least the stage is set for him to take over whenever the 20+ year vet Brodeur decides that it’s time to hang it up. You wouldn’t believe it, but Schneider had the fourth best save percentage last year in the league at .926, and he had a 2.11 GAA in 30 games. The question is about his psyche, though. If he’s ready to go and ready to split time with Brodeur, Schneider might be a real steal of a goalie when he is in the game.
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