2018 GOALTENDING POWER RANKINGS
This is my fourth year doing Power Rankings and, to be honest, the goaltenders haven't changed all that much from that first round in 2015. The reason being is how much I value consistency. These Power Rankings aren't indicative of the single season previous to the rankings. They are more an evaluation of who the best goalie in the world is, not who had the best season. This is why goaltenders like Devan Dubnyk and Ben Bishop hadn't cracked my top ten. My logic is basically, if you had to have one goaltender heading into next season, which one would it be? For this reason, a goaltender needs to be consistently great to break into and remain in the top ten of the Power Rankings. Without further ado... your 2018 Goaltending Power Rankings (Last year's ranking in parenthesis).
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Howard, Pekka Rinne (9), Andrei Vasilevskiy, Sergei Bobrovsky (10), Matt Murray, Jake Allen
10. Connor Hellebyuck (NR)
It's rare for me to put a goalie who wasn't even an honorable mention last year into the top ten this year but Hellebyuck was that good. If he keeps up his play from this season, he is only going to climb higher and at a decent pace. He fixed his issues with his hands and played more aggressively. He still has some trouble five-hole and I think some issues with his glove hand but there's no denying how good he was this year and how instrumental he was to the Jets success. He and Gibson are the two youngest goalies on the list. Watch for them to potentially start to climb in the next few years. USA hockey has some bright goaltending to look forward to.
9. John Gibson (HM)
Gibson is big, athletic, and powerful. He has the ability to get even the slightest piece of equipment in front of the puck when you think he's completely down and out. He also has the ability to do things that make you wonder what in the heck he was thinking. Luckily, the former happens more often than the latter, and he does control the play in front of him better than you'd expect from a guy who can be so erratic.
8. Martin Jones (7)
Martin Jones is a guy who just has a habit of making the game look very easy. His movements are efficient, he controls his rebounds, and rarely gets beat through his body. I mentioned in my Western Conference Playoff Preview that he might be the best goalie in the west and he definitely played like it for stretches of the post-season. At 28 years old, he's the highest ranked goalie under 30 and he has only gotten better each season he's played.
7. Jonathan Quick (4)
Quick is still that guy that can come up with the most mind-boggling saves and also make you wonder what in the heck he was doing. He leans on his paddle-down way too much but his athleticism is second to none and his ability to stretch across and appear out of nowhere is incredible. He had a solid season and an unbelievable duel with Fluery in the first round of the playoffs that I wish was still going on right now. He showed, in that battle with Fleury, that he can still elevate his game to heights that maybe no one can reach.
6. Henrik Lundqvist (3)
Prince Henrik may have been forgotten about by some due to his team's lack of ability to make the playoffs. There's been some talk over the past few years that Lundqvist may be on the down slope of his career but if you want to convince me he's not one of the top ten goaltenders in the world you're going to have to fight me first. His team is in shambles and he's 36 years old. I still believe if you put a halfway decent team in front of him, he silences his critics with some superb play. It was just one season ago that I had him ranked 3rd. Don't count him down and out just yet.
5. Corey Crawford (5)
Don't forget about Corey Crawford who was injured through most of the season. He played in only 27 games this year but he was great in those 27 games. Crawford is the epitome of a goalie who is patient and can control the game in front of him with great rebound control and positioning. Many thought his success was due to the team in front of him but I think this year proved the opposite may be closer to the truth. The Blackhawks missed the playoffs mostly due to poor goaltending throughout the season. Expect them to be back in the hunt next season if Crawford remains healthy.
4. Cory Schneider (6)
I really wanted to find any excuse to put Schneider in the top three but after the year Fleury had, it is really difficult to justify that. Heading into this year, Schneider had put together a number of great seasons for a terrible New Jersey team. It's interesting that my top four includes three goalies who supposedly had "off" years but I'm not interested in your silly stats. Schneider was benched at the end of the season and did not start the playoffs in the crease for the Devils. When Kinkaid struggled in the first two post-season games, Schneider came in and put together a heroic three and a half games. The way he shut down the Lightning offense - especially the power play - was unbelievable. If you put a Nerf Gun to my head, there are only two goalies in the world I would rather have on my team than Cory Schneider.
3. Marc Andre Fleury (8)
Wow, what a year. Fleury would have run away with the Vezina and could have been a serious Hart contender if he had stayed healthy throughout the year. He followed up a great regular season by burning through Jonathan Quick, Martin Jones, and Connor Hellebyuck in the post-season and going toe-to-toe with Braden Holtby in the Cup Finals. 14 years into his career he has taken his athleticism and combined it with incredible smarts to create a style that is both aggressive and patient at the same time. There were some times in the finals when the Caps took advantage of his aggressiveness and tendency to not get his feet set, but his will to battle for every shot no matter how down and out he is makes him one of the toughest goaltenders to beat.
2. Braden Holtby (2)
Holtby is another guy who had an "off" year. He, like Schneider, was benched in favor of backup Philipp Grubauer for the last stretch of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs. When Grubauer struggled, Holtby arrived and transformed the Caps from the team that blew two two-goal leads to the Blue Jackets into the team that won the Cup. Holtby stifled the high scoring Lightning and outplayed every goaltender he faced on the way to the Cup. He might be the only guy who, when at the top of his game, can touch the consistent ceiling of Carey Price.
1. Carey Price (1)
Price has been the best goalie in the world for what is at least five years now. A lot has been made about him having an off year but I don't think that really holds up against the eye test. His team defense was brutal this year no doubt. He's the best skater in the league (goalie) and he routinely makes tough stops look easy. There isn't a goalie in the league who controls the game in front of them better than Price. He's hovering into "all-time great" status and you can make a decent case he's already there. It's going to take a lot more than one "off" year to take him down from the top spot.