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NHL - US Sports: Five best goaltenders in the NHL

14 August 2022 07:00:27 EST
Andrei Vasilevskiy is an integral part of Tampa's side

There are many outstanding goalies in the NHL from emerging talent Jake Oettinger of Dallas Stars to veteran cup champion Marc-Andre-Fleury of Minnesota Wild.

Picking a top five is a tough task and one that has even seen the netminder to most recently lift the Stanley Cup, Darcy Kuemper (then of Colorado Avalanche, now Washington Capitals) narrowly miss out. 

Tampa Bay Lightning - Andrei Vasilevskiy (6.00 to win the Vezina Trophy in 2022/23)

The crème de la crème of NHL netminders, Vasilevskiy, has led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Final for three seasons straight, winning back-to-back championships before losing their crown to the Colorado Avalanche.

Over eight seasons in the NHL, Vasilevskiy has never produced a save-percentage under .910 in the regular season. In the playoffs, he has elevated his game even further, going .927, .937 and .922 in the last three years.

In 2020/21 he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs, as he amassed a stunning set of records.

Vasilevskiy helped the Lightning win 11 consecutive playoff series before their defeat to the Avalanche. Over that period, the 6'3" Russian went 17-0 in games following a defeat with a remarkable .942 save-percentage and 1.47 goals-against-average (GAA).

He is 63-38-0 over his playoff career with a .923 save-percentage and 2.30 GAA and, at just 28, has plenty more years left to earn his place as not just the best current goalie, but one of the greatest ever.  

New York Rangers -  Igor Shesterkin (3.50 to win the Vezina Trophy in 2022/23)

The current holder of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, Shesterkin, registered the third-highest single-season save percentage in NHL history last season (.935 in 53 games).

The 26-year-old went 36-13-4, helping the Rangers finish second in the Metropolitan Division and reach the Eastern Conference Final.

His 2.07 GAA also lead the NHL and his .929 save percentage against opposing powerplays was second in the NHL, a big reason New York ranked second in goals against per game (2.49) and seventh on the penalty kill (82.3 percent).

Shesterkin had a .929 save percentage and 2.59 GAA in the post season over 20 games. He was a First All-Star and finalist for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, won by Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews.

New York Islanders - Ilya Sorokin (9.50 to win the Vezina Trophy in 2022/23)

Sorokin, 27, has firmly established himself as the New York Islanders' franchise goalie over the past two seasons, posting a .923 save percentage and 2.33 GAA over 74 games (73 starts).

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In his debut NHL season of 2020/21, Sorokin became the first Islanders goalie to win each of his first four playoff games, registering a .922 save percentage and 2.79 GAA.

Before entering the NHL, he helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia win gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and won the 2019 Gagarin Cup with CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Winnipeg Jets - Connor Hellebuyck (21.00 to win the Vezina Trophy in 2022/23)

Hellebuyck's breakout NHL season came in 2018/19 when he recorded 44 wins in the regular season and took the Jets to the Western Conference Final.

The following season, he posted a .922 save percentage and 2.57 GAA to win the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie and was named a first All-Star.

One of the most impressive aspects of Hellebuyck is his ability to carry a heavy work load, as he has played 381 games (372 starts) over seven seasons.  

In those appearances, his save-percentage has been .916) and his GAA of 2.69 is also one to be proud of.

The 29-year-old has 35 playoff games to his name in which he has a .921 save-percentage and 2.46 GAA.

Nashville Predators - Juuse Saros (11.00 to win the Vezina Trophy in 2022/23)

Over recent years, goalies have been getting bigger and bigger with the average size now hitting 6'3".  

Listed at 5'11", Saros has defied the odds to become the Nashville Predators' number one, proving to be one of the most agile and better shot stoppers in the NHL.

Like Hellebuyck, he has also showed ability to carry a team on his shoulders, playing 67 games last season with 38 wins, a .918 save-percentage and 2.64 GAA.

Over 222 regular season games, Saros' record stands at 114-72-20 with an excellent .920 save-percentage and 2.54 GAA.

Saros holds the record for most saves (46) in a single game, shutting out the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in December 2018.

The 27-year-old has appeared in 17 playoff games (10 starts) with a 914 save-percentage and 2.63 GAA.

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