If we were voting for this year’s NHL first and second all-star team today, who would the top 10 candidates be in net? That’s the question we’ll try to answer here, looking solely at statistics from this season. Here’s our current top 10 performers of 2015-16.
1. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals (34GP, 27-4-2 record, .932 SV%)
Holtby has quietly been a very good goaltender for years. He started getting serious attention last year, when he played a league-leading 73 games and posted a very impressive .923 save percentage. He ended up finishing fourth in both All-Star and Vezina voting.
This is the year that appears likely to earn him his first nod as the game’s best goalie. He’s two shy of the NHL lead in games played, leads the league in wins and has yet to have two consecutive games with a sub-.900 save percentage. He’s been a key driver of the league’s best team in the first half.
2. Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings (28GP, 15-8-3 record, .930 SV%)
Mrazek hasn’t been handed anything, which is one reason his games played totals are so low. He started the year in a competition for playing time with veteran starter Jimmy Howard, a continuation of a battle last season which saw Howard start for most of the year and Mrazek replace him as the playoff No. 1.
At this point, it appears Mrazek has won the job outright. His save percentage is 20 points north of Howard’s and his 0.948 even-strength save percentage is the best total in the entire league among goalies with more than 20 games played.
3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers (33GP, 19-11-3 record, .931 SV%)
Luongo is having a great year at the age of 36, on the heels of a strong but largely overlooked 2014-15 campaign. He hasn’t received serious trophy consideration in a half-decade but his numbers are good and he recently pulled off nine straight wins. No goalie with more than 30 games played has a better even-strength save percentage.
4. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils (36GP, 18-13-5 record, .926 SV%)
The NHL’s most-used goalie has a save percentage 21 points better than his backup. He has lost 10 games in which he held the opposition to two goals or less and also lost 10 games in which he had a save percentage of .920 or better.
5. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (35GP, 23-10-2 record, .926 SV%)
Chicago has leaned hard on Crawford, who has been vastly superior to backup Scott Darling. He’s one of just five goalies in the game to have a better than .900 save percentage while shorthanded (min. 100 minutes played).
6. James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs (18GP, 7-5-4 record, .937 SV%)
The contrast between Reimer and partner Jonathan Bernier could not be starker this year. The latter is 6-11-3 on the season, and his save percentage is more than 40 points south of his more successful partner. Reimer has missed a good chunk of the season to injury, playing just two full games since November 23, but is back now and looked very convincing in a 39-save performance against Los Angeles on January 7.
Reimer’s .937 save percentage is the best number among any goalie to appear in more than 10 contests.
7. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins (29GP, 15-11-3 record, .928 SV%)
The Pens have received solid starts from all of their goalies, but Fleury has been sharp over the long haul. He’s also been very good since coming back from injury, going 2-1-1 with a .943 save percentage after a nearly three-week absence.
8. Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers (18GP, 9-5-2 record, .934 SV%)
Neuvirth held the fort early for the Flyers while Steve Mason found his legs. The latter is six games under .500 while Neuvirth is two games over and has the same number of wins despite eight fewer starts.
9. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings (34GP, 23-9-2 record, .925 SV%)
Quick’s numbers would be more convincing if backup Jhonas Enroth wasn’t sporting a .930 save percentage over the seven games that he played. Still, he’s having by far his best save percentage season since 2012, and everyone remembers what happened in the 2012 playoffs.
10. Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders (20GP, 12-6-2 record, .928 SV%)
Last year the Islanders solved a long-standing problem when they brought Jaroslav Halak in as starter. Greiss came in this summer as Halak’s backup but has pushed him for playing time, managing a better save percentage and the majority of New York’s wins.