NHL Goaltenders: The Key to a Stanley Cup

Like winning any trophy in professional sports, a lot of work has to go into building a championship team and that begins with management. The general manager of a hockey team is the one in charge of putting together a hockey team that can win the Stanley Cup. This process takes years. Everyone knows the first and second overall picks who are most likely a high profile forward (I think we all can name a few of those) or an exceptional defenceman and then start to build your team around them.

What you won’t hear about is the goaltenders who are picked with the 207th overall selection, like Dominik Hasek who ended up with six Vezina trophies, two Hart trophies and two Stanley Cups. Being a goaltender in the NHL is one of the hardest jobs in sports. With not having the fame and fortune early on in your career like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid, most goaltenders have to wait years to perfect their skills to be at the top of the NHL ranks. Here is a look at some of the goaltenders that are claiming their stake to take their teams all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Statistically, the best goaltender on the best team in the league is Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. He has seven more wins than the second place goalies on this list of whom you will soon read about. Holtby was selected 93rd overall by the Capitals in the 2008 NHL draft. After eight years it looks like Holtby is ready to try to lead his team all the way. I think the Capitals are a great team and it took a lot to get to where they are but I also think Holtby will have to win some playoff games by himself and that comes with experience, which he is lacking. Look for him next year after he has some tough games.

Pekka Rinne is on this list because he is a world class goaltender and has the ability to ‘steal’ any game that he starts. The Nashville Predators locked up their prize goaltender to a huge deal and for good reason. He is an absolute workhorse for the Predators and is the NHL leader in time on ice and tied for games played. If Nashville can score at least two or three goals they have the ability to win every game with Rinne in net. He was taken with the 258th overall pick.

The New York Rangers were able to steal Henrik Lundqvist with the 205th overall pick in the 2000 draft. He has since been nominated for the Vezina trophy three times and is the first goalie to win at least thirty games in his first six seasons. The Rangers are playing good hockey now and are jockeying for home ice advantage in the playoffs. If Lundqvist is on his game then there is no better goalie in the NHL today and gives the Rangers a chance every night.

The first three goaltenders are being written about because they have been stable throughout the years or have just started on the big stage in the NHL. The two that I have left off are Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. These two goalies are not just world class goalies like the previous three, but they have the intangible benefit of having the ultimate experience of both winning and losing on the biggest stage imaginable. Whichever one of these goalies comes out on top, you can be sure that we will have a fun time watching them.