Just two weeks into the 2022-23 NHL season, goaltending fires are already blazing in high-expectation markets.

In Toronto, Matt Murray’s damage has thrust Ilya Samsonov into a much bigger function than the Maple Leafs imagined. In Colorado, the reigning champion Avalanche are adjusting to a brand new, unproven No. 1 in Alexandar Georgiev, with combined outcomes. In Minnesota, Marc-Andre Fleury set off alarm bells early because the Wild gave up 20 targets over their first three video games, probably the most within the NHL in 33 years.

Which groups are panicking? Which are feeling like they’ve the benefit in internet? And that are nonetheless attempting to determine what they’ve?

The Athletic requested its writers for a way-too-early confidence studying on every staff’s goaltending. Here’s what they stated, on a scale from 5 (Vezina caliber) to 1 (AHL high quality).


Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

The early numbers for John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz aren’t eye-popping this season, nevertheless it’s been extra a operate of Anaheim’s decidedly leaky play in entrance of them than a operate of unhealthy goaltending. The Ducks took a step ahead Thursday in holding Boston to 1 aim over 65 minutes, with Gibson stopping 35 of 36 photographs. Improvement from forwards and defensemen within the Anaheim zone ought to lead to higher numbers for Gibson and Stolarz. — Eric Stephens

Rating: 2 – It is usually a bit sieve-like

Most nights, for the Coyotes to have any probability to win, they want their goaltender to be their greatest participant, as a result of they don’t have any elite offensive or defensive difference-makers to fall again on. Karel Vejmelka gave them the increase they wanted occasionally final yr and is able to doing it once more this yr. He is used to seeing a excessive shot quantity and limitless Grade A probabilities. Back-up Connor Ingram remains to be an unknown amount; he was simply so-so in his debut. — Eric Duhatschek

Boston Bruins

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

Is there a 3.5 class? Linus Ullmark has been excellent after three begins. He’s at a .938 all-situations save proportion and a pair of.0 targets saved above anticipated, per Moneypuck. He’s been far sharper at the beginning of this season than 2021-22, when he was transitioning from Buffalo. Conversely, Jeremy Swayman (.816 save proportion, 3.6 targets fewer saved than anticipated) has work to do. He’s been leaky over two begins. He didn’t have a pointy preseason both. — Fluto Shinzawa

Buffalo Sabres

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Goaltending has been an enormous cause for the Sabres’ early success. Craig Anderson was stable in Game 1 and helped steal a win towards the Senators. And Eric Comrie has since had back-to-back 40-save efforts in wins over Edmonton and Calgary. Buffalo has a five-on-five save proportion of .950, which is true close to the highest of the league. Goaltending has been a energy. — Matthew Fairburn

Calgary Flames

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

This is a troublesome one, as a result of we’re speaking a couple of goalie in Jacob Markstrom who completed second in Vezina voting final yr, however two weeks into this season, he hasn’t seemed all that sharp. The Flames have but to see him at his greatest as he has battled by way of an sickness within the first week of the season after which let in three targets on 12 photographs towards Buffalo on Thursday earlier than being pulled for Dan Vladar. Through three begins, Markstrom has allowed 8 targets towards and has allowed practically two targets (1.71) greater than anticipated. He has a minus-2.33 goals-saved-above-average fee. It’s not nice and definitely not what we’re used to. Meanwhile, Vladar has a win over the rival Oilers and supposedly can be used as soon as per week to make sure he stays recent. In a present of religion, the staff even gave him with a two-year contract extension, by way of 2025. The Flames are nonetheless 3-1-0 to begin the season, and Markstrom has sufficient of a monitor file for us to imagine he can be OK. For the file: His first two video games final season had been fairly meh, as properly, after which he fired off 4 shutouts over his subsequent seven begins. For now, I assume we now have to go along with No. 3. But examine again in a number of weeks! — Hailey Salvian and Julian McKenzie

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

The Hurricanes solely allowed one aim in every of their first three video games, getting stable performances in internet from each Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. Thursday’s recreation in Edmonton confirmed a bit extra vulnerability — Andersen had a turnover that led to an open-net aim and didn’t make stops in a few key moments in a 6-4 loss. Still, Andersen has been dependable and unflappable since coming to Carolina, and Raanta must be thought-about one among hockey’s high No. 2 goalies. Concerns about sturdiness lurk within the background, however the staff additionally has a top-flight prospect in Pyotr Kochetkov. — Cory Lavalette

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Given their current damage/well being historical past, the Blackhawks’ goaltending duo of Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock got here into this season with loads of questions surrounding them. Mrazek leaving Friday’s win over the Red Wings with an damage may need renewed these fears, however by way of play on the ice, to this point this duo has answered any questions fairly confidently. Through three video games, Mrazek and Stalock had been each among the many high 20 goalies within the league in targets saved above common, and Stalock stopped 10 of 10 photographs he confronted in reduction of Mrazek towards Detroit. We’ll see how that unfolds over time, nevertheless it’s a stable begin. — Scott Powers

Colorado Avalanche

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

Alexandar Georgiev has been higher than his .893 save proportion suggests — the Avalanche’s struggling penalty kill has executed him no favors — however he’s nonetheless unproven as a starter. Pavel Francouz has proven himself to be a dependable No. 2 and is coming off a season wherein he received six playoff video games, together with all 4 within the Western Conference last. — Peter Baugh

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

The season bought off to a tough begin. No. 1 Elvis Merzlikins caught the flu the week of the opener, and with backup Joonas Korpisalo nonetheless recovering from hip surgical procedure final spring, the job fell to Daniil Tarasov. Tarasov was greater than satisfactory in two begins, and Merzlikins has been principally high-quality since he returned to dwell motion. They haven’t stolen any wins, however they haven’t been responsible for any losses, both. This is just not a straightforward membership to play aim for, however the netminding is manner down on the listing of issues at the beginning of the season. — Aaron Portzline

Rating: 5 – Vezina caliber

So far this season, amongst goaltenders who’ve began at the very least two video games, Jake Oettinger ranks first within the NHL in save proportion (.966) and first in goals-against common (1.00). The subsequent greatest figures in these classes are from Tristan Jarry at .952 and 1.67, respectively. While these numbers are probably unsustainable, Oettinger’s play has picked up proper the place it left off within the staff’s playoff sequence towards the Flames. Based on the primary two weeks of the season, the Stars don’t have something to fret about in internet. Additionally, backup goaltender Scott Wedgewood began his first recreation of the season Thursday and stopped 40 of 43 photographs in Toronto. — Saad Yousuf

Detroit Red Wings

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

They began nice, with Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic delivering massive performances within the opening weekend, together with a shutout for Husso. But current extra time losses to Los Angeles and Chicago confirmed cause to pump the breaks. The undeniable fact that they now have two gifted younger netminders is cause for optimism that Red Wings needs to be improved in aim, however because the season’s first week confirmed, consistency will make or break them. — Max Bultman

Edmonton Oilers

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Jack Campbell‘s performance to start the season has been uneven. The bad: being pulled after allowing four goals on 11 shots — with little help in front of him — in the first act of the Battle of Alberta. The good: making timely stops in wins over the Canucks and Hurricanes. There’s nothing to fret about simply but, however extra is anticipated of him. He expects extra of himself, too. — Daniel Nugent-Bowman

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

Florida is mainly in the midst of the staff save proportion desk (.905), and that’s thanks primarily to 1 begin by Spencer Knight, a 24-of-27 efficiency towards Buffalo that the Panthers received. Starter Sergei Bobrovsky has been high-quality (.916 save proportion, thirteenth within the NHL with 2.43 targets saved above anticipated) with none meltdowns up to now, nevertheless it’s robust to provide the pairing something higher than a passable grade up to now. If that is the caliber of goaltending we see league-wide all season, although, we’ll have to regulate upward. — Sean Gentille

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

The score comes with a little bit of a qualifier as Jonathan Quick is retaining it from falling decrease. Quick hasn’t been lights out by any means, however he hasn’t price them video games, and Cal Petersen’s struggles within the exhibitions and his first three begins are inflicting some pause. Kings coach Todd McLellan pointed him out Thursday night time after three targets on 9 photographs towards Pittsburgh bought him an early hook. L.A.’s staff play might be tighter, however Petersen must proper the ship, particularly if Quick can’t mimic his resurgent 2021-22 season. — Eric Stephens

Minnesota Wild

Rating: 2 – It is usually a bit sieve-like

The Wild had main goaltending points of their first three video games. Marc-Andre Fleury gave up seven within the opener, was pulled within the second recreation, and Filip Gustavsson struggled in Minnesota’s third recreation, together with muffing a dump-in. The encouraging information is how good Fleury seemed in Thursday’s extra time win. “Fantastic,” coach Dean Evason stated. But goaltending can be one thing to look at with Wild as season goes. It may derail a season with excessive expectations. — Joe Smith

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

The total defensive outcomes have been higher than anticipated out of the gate, and No. 1 goalie Jake Allen has had a say on this. Allen may not steal video games, however he persistently retains the Canadiens within the battle, and the brand new two-year deal he signed throughout camp displays the excessive stage of confidence the group has in him. Backup Sam Montembeault tends to surrender unhealthy targets every so often, and a extra aggressive staff would in all probability search for an improve, however the outlook this season in Montreal provides him a for much longer leash. — Marc Antoine Godin

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Giving up 17 targets in regulation in a four-game stretch, the final two of them losses requiring blown two-goal leads within the third interval, is something however stable. But this staff has defensive-zone-coverage/costly-giveaway points. The goaltenders have had little to no probability on most of these targets. Juuse Saros can be among the finest within the league (if he will get any assist), and backup Kevin Lankinen has been a pleasing shock to this point. — Joe Rexrode

Rating: 2 – It is usually a bit sieve-like

The Devils have gotten two legitimately good intervals of goaltending this season. That’s about it. The cause New Jersey was so profitable in its fourth recreation of the season was that they saved the goalie (Mackenzie Blackwood) as protected as doable with velocity and talent in entrance of the blue paint. As spectacular as that efficiency was, it’s not precisely probably the most sustainable. The staff in entrance of the online has the chops, in idea; now they simply want Blackwood and/or Vitek Vanecek to do their half with common goaltending. — Shayna Goldman

New York Islanders

Rating: 5 – Vezina caliber

Despite shedding two of his first three video games, Ilya Sorokin seems to be primed to make a run on the Vezina, selecting up the place he left off final season when he emerged as among the finest within the league. Backup Semyon Varlamov stays a stable No. 2, and he bought his toes moist with a win over the Ducks in his one and solely begin. The Islanders will want each of them, notably over the subsequent few weeks because the skaters acclimatize themselves to teach Lane Lambert’s systemic tweaks. — Kevin Kurz

Rating: 5 – Vezina caliber

Well … they do have the reigning Vezina winner. Igor Shesterkin hasn’t put up award-winning numbers but, however the Rangers are scoring sufficient that they don’t but want him to be Superman in internet. And he’s nonetheless saving a aim above expectation on high-danger probabilities towards, so he could also be simply dry-cleaning the cape for now. — Arthur Staple

Ottawa Senators

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

With Cam Talbot sidelined this month, Anton Forsberg has delivered steady and constant goaltending for the Senators. His save proportion (.903) and goals-against common (3.03) may not be spectacular, however these numbers are reflective of a wild 7-5 recreation that Ottawa managed to win. If he can hold delivering this similar stage of goaltending till Talbot returns, the staff needs to be in nice form to lastly have that desired 1-2 punch within the crease. — Ian Mendes

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Carter Hart’s leaguewide popularity has dipped a bit in recent times, however I don’t suppose that’s honest. He brazenly struggled with the psychological challenges of the pandemic in 2020-21, and his metrics had been fairly robust in 2021-22 — whereas backstopping an terrible membership — till his previous few begins, when he was taking part in by way of damage. In different phrases, he’s nonetheless a wonderfully stable, true-talent goalie. And to this point this season, he’s been even higher than that, holding a .943 save proportion by way of his first three begins and standing as the most important cause for the Flyers’ robust 3-1-0 file. Is Hart going to stay this good? Almost definitely not, although if he does, the Flyers will probably make an unbelievable push towards a playoff spot. Teams with goalies that cease 94 p.c of the photographs don’t lose too typically. At the very least, although, Hart is sending a reminder to the NHL that he stays a top quality netminder — and one of many Flyers’ few professional roster strengths. — Charlie O’Connor

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rating: 5 – Vezina caliber

Tristan Jarry has the bodily skill to be one among hockey’s greatest goaltenders and seems to be on the verge of coming into the highest tier, off to his greatest begin to a season and displaying indicators of maturing right into a gem. He has allowed solely 5 targets in three video games and stopped 39 of 40 photographs towards the Kings on Thursday. Casey DeSmith, by the way, was additionally stellar in his solely efficiency and is usually a notch or two above reliable. The problem for each is how wholesome they’ll keep, however after they’re out there — as they’ve been to this point — they appear to be discovering a better stage than in earlier seasons. — Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Rather a lot has gone unsuitable for the Sharks, however goaltending is just not on the listing. James Reimer has been excellent and have become the primary goalie to “break serve” and get an additional begin after alternating with Kaapo Kahkonen. He has saved San Jose in video games the place it has been outplayed. Kahkonen’s two begins have simply been OK, however the staff’s total goaltending depth can be higher than it has been shortly. — Corey Masisak

Rating: 1 – AHL high quality

There wasn’t a ton of confidence in Philipp Grubauer coming into the season after final yr’s catastrophe, however he did have an opportunity to show that 2021-22 was an outlier after having put up Vezina-like numbers in Colorado. The undeniable fact that Seattle now has some scoring help was working in his favor, too. But an .860 save proportion to this point isn’t inspiring confidence in a comeback, and an damage sustained final night time in Colorado places his season on maintain. There’s no replace on his standing to this point. That leaves the online to Martin Jones, which drops the boldness meter even decrease. Joey Daccord, nonetheless, may deliver some intrigue if promoted. — Shayna Goldman

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

The Blues haven’t performed many video games — Saturday’s matinee in Edmonton can be simply their third of the season — however No. 1 netminder Jordan Binnington has been electrical early. The massive query coming into the season was whether or not he may decide up the place he left off within the 2022 playoffs, and he has. The Blues had been hoping for this to be the case, contemplating he has 5 years left on his six-year, $36 million deal. New backup Thomas Greiss has but to seem in a recreation, however that’s excellent news as a result of it means Binnington is taking part in properly. — Jeremy Rutherford

Rating: 5 – Vezina caliber

If there’s one staff that shouldn’t fear about its goaltending, it’s the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy is arguably the most effective on the planet, and Brian Elliott has performed properly as a backup in 2021. Vasilevskiy helped finish Tampa Bay’s skid Friday by stopping 36 of 38 photographs in an extra time win over Florida. He’s an enormous cause the Lightning ought to nonetheless be Cup contenders even with key offseason departures. — Joe Smith

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

Ilya Samsonov has been regular to this point. He’s received his first three begins with the Maple Leafs and has, in the interim anyway, quieted a few of the severe concern that arose when Matt Murray suffered an damage days after his first begin with the staff. It’s nonetheless too early to make a lot of something, although, with regards to the Leafs’ goaltending. Samsonov has but to show he is usually a dependable No. 1 (and even 1B) within the NHL, and Murray received’t be again for some time. Can Samsonov hold this up for one more month? Can he stick with it all season? Can Murray get wholesome? Can he keep wholesome? Can Murray carry out adequately? The query marks in aim will undoubtedly linger all season. — Jonas Siegel

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Thatcher Demko is just not the explanation the Canucks are shedding, however he additionally isn’t taking part in as much as our sky-high expectations of him, posting an .861 save proportion with an 0-3-1 file. Demko was the Canucks’ greatest participant final season, although, so the boldness stage in him ought to stay excessive. Even if he regresses considerably, he’s prone to have an prolonged stretch carrying this staff and is, with out query, one among its unqualified strengths. The greater downside for the Canucks is that they simply don’t have sufficient solutions for these blips when Demko isn’t performing. Spencer Martin’s a little bit of a wild card since he hasn’t been an NHL backup earlier than, however he’s seemed first rate at any time when he’s gotten into video games. — Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Goaltending was the Golden Knights’ largest query mark coming into the season, with the staff leaning on the inexperienced duo of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill, however so far, it has been a pleasing shock. Both have executed what they’ve been requested, giving Vegas an opportunity to win each night time, and Thompson has exceeded expectations with some sensational saves. It’s nonetheless actually early, so I’m not able to crown them “Vezina caliber,” however I feel “rock solid” has been an ideal descriptor for Thompson and Hill. There’s loads of optimism across the Golden Knights’ goalies, particularly with Thompson’s spectacular begin. — Jesse Granger

Rating: 4 – Rock stable

Darcy Kuemper’s numbers (2-2-0, .902 save proportion, 3.04 goals-against common) don’t look so scorching after his first 4 begins in D.C. In his case, although, stats don’t inform your entire story. Washington’s massive free-agent signing has been the sufferer of a few bizarre bounces, and it must also be famous that the defensive pairs just lately obtained a uncommon shakeup in an effort to generate a “spark.” New backup Charlie Lindgren (0-1-0, .923, 3.18), in the meantime, was good in his first begin, a 3-2 loss to former Caps netminder Ilya Samsonov in Toronto. Bottom line: It’s tremendous early and Kuemper has an extended monitor file of excellence. No have to be too involved — but. — Tarik El-Bashir

Rating: 3 – Not nice, however not killing them

Connor Hellebuyck is off to a wonderful begin and David Rittich isn’t. That’s the story in Winnipeg. Three video games, two wins, a .922 save proportion, and a powerful displaying in Evolving-Hockey’s goals-saved-above-expected metric are numbers harking back to Hellebuyck’s 58-game, Vezina Trophy-winning efficiency in 2019-20. Limiting Hellebuyck to 58 video games this season would take extra confidence in Rittich, who gave up 4 targets within the first interval towards Vegas on Thursday. That stated, the video of these targets towards — aside from his terrible giveaway to Jack Eichel — is kinder to Rittich than to his staff. Don’t depend on him however don’t depend him out but, both. — Murat Ates

(Top picture of Marc-Andre Fleury: Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today)



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