Who are the best goalies in the 2021-22 NHL season?
Over the years, it has always been about who can score the most goals in the NHL, but the recent runs have proved that goalies are also important. This is why there are a lot of stars who are on the rise as the attention of the league shifts to the goalies’ importance.
Goalies have been on the prowl in the past few runs and they have shaped the way their teams play. While most of the teams in the league have focused on scoring, there are teams who have become defensive juggernauts whose goal is to force a lot of shutouts in their games.
To get a shutout, no goal should be allowed from the opposing side. While there are so many ways to stop a team from scoring, it all comes down to the goalie whose job is to ensure that the puck would be saved at all costs.
Here are the best goalies in the 2021-22 NHL season:
The Tampa Bay Lightning owe their back to back titles in the Stanley Cup to Andrei Vasilevskiy. The star is seen as the best goalie in the NHL and no one can deny that fact. He is the top pick to win the Vezina Trophy in the 2021-22 season and the Russian netminder is always a keen defender in his games.
Andrei has picked up the pace from last season - where he was the runner-up for the MVP award and won back to back Stanley Cup titles and Conn Smythe trophies. The star went 31-10-1 last season and had a .925 save percentage, five shutouts and a 20.96 GSAA. That kind of stat line proves that he is better than he was in his early years.
At the age of 27, he’s played a lot of hockey and is still in his prime. Andrei is one of the best goalies that fans can watch as he goes for big wins in his career.
Marc-Andre Fleury is the best goalie for the 2021 season. He was a beast in his runs with the Vegas Golden Knights, so it was a huge shock to a lot of fans when the team traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, the Hawks did everything right with Fleury at this point. The star is already at the age of 37 and yet he just won his first Vezina Trophy. He had a 26-10-0 record with a stat line of 1.98 goals-against average, a .928 save percentage and a 20.1 GSAA. Fleury also had 26 quality starts, which was good for a star who is ageing like fine wine.
His success with Vegas shows off his talent and he still has what it takes to lead the team to more wins. It is still early to say that the Hawks will not make the playoffs, so there’s still a chance for them.
Philipp Grubauer’s move to the Seattle Kraken was yet another big surprise to the rest of the league. A lot of fans expected him to sign with the Colorado Avalanche after making a strong finish in the 2021 season and going for a deep playoff run with the team.
The star goalie soon took his talents to the land of Starbucks and grunge. No one ever saw that coming and he knew that it was the right move for his career. He signed a six-year deal worth $35.4 million with Kraken.
With a brand new team, it is important to note that Grubauer’s game may change but not much. He brought a huge resume with a 30-9-1 record and a stat line of 1.95 GAA, a .922 save percentage, and seven shutouts to earn a Vezina Trophy finalist nod.
Grubauer has a career .920 save percentage, so he clearly packs a punch and can deal so much damage on the defensive end. After all, he is with a squad that is playing together for the first time, so the Kraken can expect more from him to take the lead in their squad.
No one in the NHL carries more load than Connor Hellebuyck. From the 2018-19 season, the star led the NHL in ice time at 9,577:31 minutes, which was almost 1000 more than the guy in the no. 2 slot (Andrei Vasilevskiy, 8,852 minutes).
The star faced the most shots in each of those seasons for a total of 5,182 shots against, and he stopped 4,751 of them. That is a huge feat for any goalie who wants to raise the bar in the NHL. His stat line also speaks a lot as he finished with the fifth-best save percentage (.917) and third-best GSAA (39.19) during that span.
If Connor’s big games can keep the Jets up and running for more deep runs, then he clearly deserves more credit for their chances as he stays hot in his career.
Goalies are vital to any team’s success, and the past few Stanley Cup Finals are proof of that. Teams have relied on their goalies to win games since defence is a huge part of any match. It does not matter how many goals a team can score if the opposing side can also score the same.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores