This is a top 10 list based on stats compiled on the season. It is not a projection of the top goalies going forward.
It has been a great season to be a goalie in the NHL. Numerous goalies are having outstanding seasons, but at the same time, there are many netminders that are ruining fantasy teams. This list is meant to capture the best of the best of the 2011-2012 NHL season. It will also include a list of the top 5 goalies from January.
Join me after the jump to critique my rankings.
Bobby Lou has really silenced his critics as the season has gone on. He shook off a poor start to go 20-10-4 on the season with a .918 save% and a 2.39 gaa. Certainly these aren't the stats that you were hoping for when drafting the guy in the first or second round, but if he keeps getting the starts, he may get there.
It was a tough decision to put Elliott on this list. His 15 wins are very low and he's only started 1 of the last 7 games for the Blues. He may have lost a significant amount of the timeshare he was enjoying with Jaroslav Halak. Still, his 1.69 gaa is tops in the NHL, his .937 save% is third, and his 5 shutouts are tied for third. I can't see him being on this list at season's end as it looks like Hitchcock is really leaning on Halak at this point, but you can't take away his full body of work.
Kipper has really improved on his mediocre play from one season ago. He's 22-17-3 and Calgary has only won 23 games. Safe to say that they want him in net if they have any shot of making the playoffs. His .919 save% and 2.33 gaa are vast improvements from one season ago. This is one goalie that a lot of fantasy teams wish they did not write off during their drafts this season.
Niemi posted shutouts in his last two games just to make sure that he would make this list. At 22-10-5, Niemi has really established himself as the man in San Jose. Those who thought Antero Niittymaki might challenge Niemi when he returned from injury were proved wrong when Niitty was placed on waivers by the Sharks. Niemi's save% is .920 and his gaa is 2.24 and there is no reason to believe he won't continue his strong play down the stretch as he's proven to be a clutch goalie in the past.
With a record like 27-12-2, you would think this guy would be a lot higher on the list. After all, 27 wins is third in the league. His gaa of 2.28 looks good but the .913 save% is a turn off, man. He hasn't had a shutout in two and a half months. On the plus side he's riding an 8 game winning streak but in four of those games he's allowed 3 or more goals. Evgeni Malkin has been bailing him out big time. Still, he's definitely high on the list of goalies you want to own for the stretch run.
The man who snubbed the President of the United States might be an unpleasant person (that's the synonym that the internet gave me for the stronger word I wanted to use), but he's stil a stellar goalie. He falls from the #2 position in Volume 2 if only because of the wonderful play of Tuukka Rask. He's still at a .933 save% (good for fifth in the league) and 2.15 gaa but January didn't treat him very well. He has given up three or more goals in 6 of his last 9 starts and Rask has been stealing more and more starts. He may only start another 17 or 18 games this season but look for him to improve on a poor January.
Second in the NHL with 29 wins and second in the NHL in total saves. Rinne is also leading the way with 46 games started and is on pace to play 74 games. His peripherals (.925 save% and 2.40 gaa) are sparkling. Oh yeah, and did I mention that he's currently riding a ten game winning streak? With Nashville in a dogfight for first place with Detroit in the central division, I don't see him sitting anytime soon.
JQ is fourth in the NHL in save% (.934) and gaa (1.93). His 6 shutouts are tied for the league lead and he's tied for sixth in wins with 22. I'm not sure anyone saw Quick taking the next step into elite status this season, especially with so many people loving the potential of Jonathan Bernier. Still, he's used that pressure to make himself a top 3 option on the season. The question going forward is can he shake off the late season swoon that he went through last year?
Leading the NHL in wins with 31 and tied for third in shutouts with 5. His save% and gaa have dipped a bit since Volume 2 (.929 and 1.87), but not by much (.925 and 2.01). With 43 games started of Detroit's 51 games, he's on pace to start just about 70 games on the season so the workload is there for this guy. If you snagged him in the middle or end of your draft this season, kudos to you, you won't find him there next season.
We all knew that the King was a top 5 NHL goalie coming into the season, but he's taken it to a whole new level. He leads the NHL in save% with .939. He's tied for first in shutouts with 6. His 1.82 gaa is tied for second and his 23 wins ranks fifth. The Rangers, who currently sit atop the NHL standings, will be resting him a bit more to ready for the playoffs, but at this moment, there's no better choice in nets. All hail!
And here's your list of the Top 5 January Goalies (all European goalies oddly enough):
#1 January Goalie: Pekka Rinne (11-1-0, .935 save%, 1.92 gaa, 1 shutout)
#2 January Goalie: Jaroslav Halak (7-1-0, .946 save%, 1.36 gaa, 3 shutouts)
#3 January Goalie: Jonas Hiller (7-2-1, .944 save%, 1.55 gaa, 1 shutout)
#4 January Goalie: Antti Niemi (7-3-0, .930 save%, 1.96 gaa, 3 shutouts)
#5 January Goalie: Jonas Gustavsson (7-3-0, .926 save%, 2.08 gaa, 3 shutouts)