No player in hockey has a greater impact on the game than the goaltender. A great goaltender can steal a win or take a team a long way to the playoffs, but finding one is easier said than done.
On the other hand, teams can play very well, but a bad goalkeeper snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
With this kind of volatility and unpredictability in the position, there’s no better feeling than having a goaltender you can count on for more than 50 games in a season. The 10 networkers on this list provide this and more to their teams.
All goals saved are above average and high hazard batted percentage courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
10. Tristan Jarry | Pittsburgh Penguins
Seat number 10 ended up with two goalkeepers: Jarry and Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury won the Vezina Trophy in 2021, but he fought for a terrible team for much of last season. Jarry flourished with the Penguins, hitting an above-average 21.10 goals in 2021-22, finishing seventh in the NHL. After a somewhat shaky first year as a regular in Pittsburgh, Jarry was able to bounce back and prove himself more than worthy of the role. If Jarry had been healthy throughout the Penguins’ playoff series against the New York Rangers, they could have made it to the second round.
9. Frederik Andersen | Carolina Hurricanes
Andersen’s last two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2019 to 2021 were terrible, and it was fair to wonder if he had anything left in the tank. That’s why it was surprising when the Hurricanes targeted him last offseason. In the end, this turned out to be another clever move by this organization. Andersen had a resurgent season with the Hurricanes. His 2.17 goals average ranked second in the NHL, and he was sixth in above-average goals saved at 22.07. If Andersen continues to play at this level, Carolina will once again become a real Stanley Cup threat in 2022/23.
8. Thatcher Demko | Vancouver Canucks
After Demko’s breakout performance in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canucks felt comfortable letting Jacob Markstrom go free. So far this has looked like a good solution. Demko has been superb over the last two seasons and his above-average 23.09 goals saved ranks seventh in that time. The rest of the roster in Vancouver doesn’t help Demko much, so the traditional numbers may not faze anyone, but he consistently gives the team a chance to be competitive.
7. Darcy Kemper | Washington Capitals
As hard as it is to believe, Kemper only actually played a full season as a starting goaltender twice in his career. Last season was one of them, and he was great for the Avalanche, playing for the best squad in the NHL. His above-average 25.19 saved goals ranked fourth in the league, and his .852 high hazard shooting percentage was also among the best. In the playoffs, the Aves clinched the Cup despite Kemper’s underwhelming performance, but there’s more than enough evidence to suggest he’ll be a major upgrade for the Capitals this season.
6. Jacob Markstrom | Calgary Flames
Since joining the Vancouver Canucks in 2017, Markstrom has become one of the most consistent goaltenders in the league. The only exception will be the 2020-21 campaign, his first campaign with the Calgary Flames. However, Markström bounced back well last year with an above-average 26.10 goals saved and an .849 dangerous shooting percentage, proving that he is still one of the best players in his position. With a loaded Calgary Flames roster and a great Darryl Sutter system, Markstrom should continue to thrive.
5. Connor Hellebike | Winnipeg Jets