Let me reiterate a sentiment I’ve shared earlier than over the previous 12 months or two: I don’t suppose NHL entrance places of work have ever felt much less assured about evaluating the goaltending place as they do right this moment.

Which is unusual as a result of groups have by no means been blessed with as a lot information as they now have.

But the place has turn out to be extra inconsistent and risky than ever. Or a minimum of that’s the suggestions I get from so many hockey folks. I believe a lot of has to do with the offensive-minded model of the NHL right this moment — youth and offensive ability and a tempo on the ice that’s 100 miles per hour. It places goalies beneath fixed duress.

It’s much more purpose why it’s ridiculous for any netminder to play 60-plus video games within the fashionable NHL.

And additionally purpose, I believe, that you just’ll see only a few long-term offers afforded to the place. True franchise goalies may nonetheless get them, however you’re speaking about just a few gamers in that group.

Otherwise, you’re two- or three-year offers, max, due to the uncertainty of a netminder repeating ends in a constant means.

All of which brings me to the purpose of this piece. Once once more final offseason, we had groups taking gambles on the goalie carousel. No selection within the matter.

1 / 4 of the way in which into the season, let’s look at how a few of these choices have performed out:

The Stanley Cup champs shocked us all with this one. Unable to re-sign Darcy Kuemper (now in Washington), they rotated July 7 on the draft in Montreal and bought the Rangers’ backup for 2 third-round picks and a fifth-round decide.

The Rangers had been by no means going to carry again the restricted free agent given the funding they have already got of their franchise netminder, however the concept the Avalanche would hand over the keys and a three-year, $3.4 million average-annual-value deal to a 26-year-old who’d by no means gained greater than 17 video games in an NHL season and was coming off an .898 save share and a 2.92 goals-against common? No, I didn’t see that coming.

The outcomes to this point? How a couple of .933 save share, second-best amongst qualifying NHL goalies (a minimum of seven video games)? The Russian netminder’s .948 save share at even power is tops within the league, and his 10.7 targets saved above anticipated at five-on-five (per MoneyPuck) is third.

“Alex has certainly done a good job in net for us,” Avs basic supervisor Chris MacFarland mentioned through textual content message Monday. “In fact, both goalies have played consistent right from Day 1 of camp. (Pavel) Francouz has been here a few years, but everything has been new to Georgiev.

“He has handled the transition very well.”

Um, I’d say.

Discarded in Washington, Vanecek’s recent begin in New Jersey has labored out splendidly. The 26-year-old Czech goalie, who signed a three-year cope with a $3.4 million AAV after his commerce from the Capitals, has a .923 save share that’s prime 10 amongst NHL goalies.

“He’s fit in great,” Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald mentioned Monday. “He’s a great kid. He was so excited to be in New Jersey and get an opportunity. … He’s a battler. He loves playing. He’s a competitive guy. He never gives up on a shot. He’s not the biggest guy out there, but he just finds pucks and he competes. Honestly, he’s the first guy on the ice every day.

“He’s just a great kid and he fits in well in that locker room.”

I beloved this acquisition from the second it occurred on the draft on July 8.

I get that his breakthrough in St. Louis final season, when he was a pending unrestricted free agent, was a small pattern measurement, nevertheless it felt like whichever crew received him can be joyful so long as they didn’t overcommit. The three-year cope with a $4.75 million AAV is a average dedication in order that if he doesn’t become a real No. 1, the Red Wings aren’t caught with him. But the early returns are good. His .919 save share is tenth within the NHL. Again, it’s early, however to this point, so good. The telling half might be how he handles the workload over a whole season. He began 38 video games in St. Louis final season.

“He’s off to a good start,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman mentioned Monday. “I don’t know how many games he’s going to play this year — whether it’s 40 or 55. There’s no real plan. Just like any other player, we’ll manage his ice time and make sure he’s good to go throughout the season.”

This needs to be one of many largest surprises of the season to this point.

The former No. 1 in San Jose, Jones’ profession was on shaky standing after 4 straight seasons with a .900 or decrease save share and declining win totals, bottoming out at 12 in 35 video games in 2021-22. He’ll match that quantity along with his subsequent win this season, already 11-4-2.

Jones signed a one-year, $2 million deal as a backup substitute for the injured Chris Driedger, behind presumed starter Philipp Grubauer. That contract has already paid for itself.

Jones’ general .903 save share isn’t nice, however his .929 mark at even power is prime 10. And he’s saved 7.4 targets above anticipated at five-on-five (fifth within the NHL).

“He has played real well,” Kraken GM Ron Francis mentioned through textual content message Monday. “Grubi was hurt, and he stepped up in his absence. I wouldn’t say he has been overly flashy but rather just real solid, game in and game out, which has allowed him and the team to have success.

“He looks calm and confident in the pipes, and (it’s) good to see him being rewarded.”

The Maple Leafs’ resolution to fully revamp their one-two punch in purpose definitely acquired loads of consideration. There was most likely no larger gamble on the NHL goalie carousel than Toronto’s.

I really actually preferred the Samsonov resolution, at one 12 months and $1.8 million — a complete upside play, with no actual dedication. Trading for Murray was just a little extra perplexing, given the way it went for him in Ottawa. And in fact, getting damage instantly initially of the common season fed the narrative about him. But right here’s the bizarre factor about all of it: The Leafs, as a crew, are fifth within the NHL at five-on-five save share (93.1 p.c). Of course, the play in entrance of the goalies is a giant consider that. From our Leafs beat author Jonas Siegel in his Monday Morning Leafs Report piece Monday:

“Only the notoriously stingy Hurricanes have a better five-on-five defensive shot rate than the Leafs in November.”

Murray and Samsonov each have equivalent .921 save percentages. Very good. But each have additionally already gotten damage this season. Not good. And that’s the priority that’s going to hold over this tandem because the season goes on, particularly nearer to playoff time: sturdiness.

No one is more durable on himself than Campbell, who’s such a likable dude and so sincere in his media periods.

So far his transition to Edmonton from Toronto has been nothing wanting a catastrophe: his .875 save share is 54th amongst NHL goalies who’ve appeared in a minimum of seven video games this season. Only the Blue Jackets’ Kaapo Kahkonen (.871) and Elvis Merzlikins (.864) have been worst.

You surprise why the Leafs didn’t attempt more durable to re-sign Campbell, and there’s no query that time period was the most important difficulty in that dialog. This isn’t going out on a limb, clearly, however I do imagine Campbell will straighten issues out and look extra just like the man we noticed the previous few seasons in Toronto. There’s a transparent adjustment to getting used to how the Oilers play in entrance of him. They’re no defensive juggernaut. Only Anaheim, Columbus, Arizona and Chicago have allowed extra photographs on purpose per sport (33.7) to this point this season.

But so far as goalie first impressions go together with a brand new crew, yikes. Year 1 of a five-year, $25 million contract …

Darcy Kuemper, Capitals

Speaking of massive contracts, the Capitals punted on Vanecek and Samsonov and introduced within the Cup champion Kuemper on a five-year cope with a $5.25 million AAV. He’s been OK to this point this season. His .914 save share is tied for twentieth within the league, and he’s saved 3.4 targets above anticipated at five-on-five (18th). So, OK. Not nice, however OK. And I imply, no crew has been hammered more durable by key accidents than Washington, in order that’s affected what’s taking place in entrance of him on a nightly foundation.

He’s began solely eight video games after lacking the primary a part of the season with an damage. His .919 save share is tied for tenth within the league, and he’s saved 3.8 targets greater than anticipated. The Senators will not be an excellent defensive crew, to say the least, in order that they want their goalies to steal some moments. Talbot was very strong in beating the Ducks and Kings over the weekend.

Let’s see if he can get on an actual roll right here for an Ottawa crew that actually wants it.

(Top photograph of Jack Campbell: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)



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